In 2005, the Governor and the Virginia General Assembly established a memorial commission to select a monument for Capitol Square in honor of the struggle for full civil rights for Virginia's African American citizens.
The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial Commission, comprised of elected and civic leaders, has met over the last several months to select a subject for the memorial, a site and an artist. The memorial will honor the student protest at the Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia. Their organized walkout in 1951, and subsequent lawsuit, became one of the cases joined with and argued before the Supreme Court as Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. The memorial will pay tribute to these Moton students, their parents who supported them at great personal risk, and the civil rights lawyers who represented them. All remind us all that, five decades ago, their courage and determination helped to bring state-sanctioned segregation to an end. The memorial will also acknowledge that they were successful as part of a decades-long collective non-violent movement in which the actions of countless individuals across Virginia and the country brought about sweeping legal and societal change.
Members of the Civil Rights Memorial Commission
- Lisa Collis, former First Lady of Virginia.
- Leroy R. Hassell, Sr., Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.
- Judith C. Anderson, former deputy secretary of the commonwealth.
- Dr. “Woody” Holton, professor of history at the University of Richmond.
- Rita O. Moseley, a 25-year employee with Prince Edward County High School.
- The Honorable Bill Bolling, Lieutenant Governor.
- The Honorable William J. Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates.
- The Honorable Thomas K. Norment, Senator of Virginia.
- The Honorable Jennifer McClellan, Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates.
- Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Chair.