Rev. Dr. Vernon Johns was born here in Darlington Heights on 22 April 1892. A graduate of Oberlin College, Johns was an orator of great renown and the first African-American minister included in Best Sermons of the Year (1926), an international publication. He was pastor of Court Street Baptist Church (1920-1926; 1941-1943) and president of Virginia Theological Seminary and College (1929-1934), both in Lynchburg. Later he was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (1948-1952). A blunt-spoken opponent of racial segregation and a champion of civil rights, Johns exhorted his congregations to resist the laws that constricted their lives. He died in Washington, D.C., on 10 June 1965, and is buried just north of here.