Fact-Check: Tim Kaine Didn’t Mention That the Governor of Virginia Was a Segregationist Democrat When Barbara Johns Walked Out of Her School

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While answering the first question of the vice-presidential debate Tuesday, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine mentioned Barbara Johns, who “led a walk-out of her high school; She made history by protesting school segregation.”

What Senator Kaine failed to mention is that the governor of Virginia during Johns’ walk-out was a Democrat named John Stewart Battle.

Johns was protesting Virginia’s segregated public school systems. 

It was in 1951 when a 16-year-old Johns walked out of her Moton High School, an all-black school in Farmville, Virginia, which sat across the street from an all-white high school. 

Battle, who was elected Virginia governor in 1950, was known widely as a segregationist — and he governed as such. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Virginia, “when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, demanded the desegregation of state parks, Battle raised the possibility of closing them instead.”


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