First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church (HMKYD)

Location: Farmville, VA 23901 Prince Edward County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 18.044', W 78° 23.593'

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Farmville, Virginia

— Prince Edward County —

The First Baptist Church was organized in 1866 as an outgrowth of the predominantly white Farmville Baptist Church. In 1949, following the death of the Rev. C. H. Griffin, the Church voted unanimously to call his son, L. Francis Griffin, as pastor. First Baptist Church did not know the young Rev. Griffin had already received a call to pastor a large, northern church with a very promising future, but it did not take long for the young preacher to decide that his home church needed his services much more than the other.

In April of 1951, when 456 students of Robert R. Moton High School conducted a walk-out to protest the deplorable conditions of their segregated school, the Farmville community was plunged into a social revolution. The First Baptist Church, under Rev. L. Francis Griffin, accepted the challenge of supporting the student rebellion. The church membership generally supported its pastor, although there were dissenters. The church facilities were made available to the students to hold meetings, meet with the faculty members, NAACP lawyers, parents and others representing their cause. It was in First Baptist Church that parents, students and NAACP attorneys decided to sue for integrated schools in Prince Edward County.

Despite the 1954 Supreme Court's ruling, Brown V. Topeka Board of Education, outlawing segregation in public education, the fight in Farmville was not over. Prince Edward County closed its public schools in 1959 to avoid integration.

First Baptist Church continued to provide support to the students and the community in the Civil Rights struggle. The church was visited by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other nationally known Civil Rights leaders. Students, locked out of public schools, were able to attend classes in the church.

Rev. Griffin's involvement in Civil Rights was done at great personal sacrifice. The white business community targeted him for reprisals. Credit was cut off along with other economic sanctions.

First Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev L. Francis Griffin, made a great contribution to Civil Rights in education by supporting the students and the community to bring about equal access to public education to all students.
Marker Number26
Placed ByCivil Rights in Education Heritage Trail?
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 12:53am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 731046 N 4131420
Decimal Degrees37.30073333, -78.39321667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 18.044', W 78° 23.593'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 18' 2.64" N, 78° 23' 35.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)434
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 126-170 S Main St, Farmville VA 23901, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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