Oral Histories: Remembering Brown v. Board of Education at 65


WATCH — A Brown v. Board Oral History: John A. Stokes on How His School Strike Paved a Path to the Supreme Court, With the ‘Only Case That Was Student-Led’

May 14, 2019

John Stokes was one of the organizers and leaders of a student strike to protest conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, in April 1951. The student strike resulted in the NAACP school desegregation case of Davis v. Prince Edward County School Board, which, on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, became one of the five cases consolidated as Brown v. Board of Education.

In this oral history, Stokes recounts the events leading up to Davis v. Prince Edward County School Board, the only one of the five consolidated Brown v. Board cases that was led by students.

Stokes served in the military during the Korean conflict. He went on to complete his college degree, eventually teaching at the elementary and secondary levels. He was selected to be an intern with the Rockefeller Foundation and a master teacher. Before retiring, he served as a junior high school principal.

Learn more about Stokes and the five cases that were ultimately merged into Brown v. Board and see more testimonials from the families who changed America’s schools at our new site: The74Million.org/Brown65.

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Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation provides financial support to The 74 and funded The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research in producing the new book Recovering Untold Stories: An Enduring Legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education Decision.


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