Early Virginia activists for civil rights to be honored with memorial

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Barbara Johns didn't live to see the day.

Neither did Oliver W. Hill Sr., Spottswood Robinson III or the Rev. L. Francis Griffin.

But each of those Virginia civil rights pioneers will be posthumously recognized Monday as part of a ceremony honoring the strides they made.

On that day, the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, bearing their images in bronze, will be unveiled on the grounds of the state Capitol.

The four-sided memorial surrounds a granite block. It will rest alongside statues of past Virginia leaders, some of whom owned slaves or fought on battlefields and in government halls to preserve a segregated society.

"It's ironic that the civil rights monument is being placed in the middle of all those Confederate heroes," said John Watson.

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