Gallery III

Davis v. Prince Edward

“Davis v. Prince Edward” is the “legal” gallery where the visitor will learn about the legal process that led from the Davis case to its inclusion as one of the five cases incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education, and the only one initiated by students. The exhibition within this space covers the period 1951 through 1954 and focuses on federal (national) action and deals with such topics as the cases which comprised the Brown decisions, President Eisenhower’s position, the appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the strategy of the NAACP, and other events. The visitor is first introduced to the legal teams arguing the case both for the plaintiffs and for the Commonwealth of Virginia and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the legal strategies of both sides have been presented, the visitor will move into the “Evidence Room” where the original photographic evidence will be used to illustrate to the visitor how separate was not equal in the Prince Edward County School System. An image and video wall will be provided for the visitor that wants to explore the evidence in more detail. At the end of the Evidence Room, the visitor will see a large wall mural of many of the Davis plaintiffs standing in front of Moton School reinforcing the understanding that the plaintiffs in the Davis case were the Moton students. As the visitor turns they are drawn into the courtroom through the balustrades towards a large mural of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices presiding over the Brown case. In this room, the visitor will learn about the court system and the process that the Davis case goes through to eventually end up as part of the Brown case at the U.S. Supreme Court. A touch screen interactive allows visitors to explore the other four brown cases in more depth. The visitor exits this gallery walking past a piece of the Supreme Court steps with Chief Justice Warren’s summation quote over the door way “in the field of public education…”

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