Freedom Now Project

Images from the summer of 1963, Farmville, Va.

Civil rights protest at the Safeway store in Farmville, 1963

In 1959 Prince Edward County, Va. closed its public schools in defiance of court-ordered desegregation.

By the summer of 1963 the African-American community had waited long enough.

It was time for a Program of Action. Time for Freedom. Now.

The Freedom Now Project displays images from VCU Libraries’ Digital Collections documenting the Farmville civil rights protests. The images show how events unfolded that summer and how other townspeople and the news media responded to the protesters.

Since the photographs were taken for the police, demonstrators may often be seen reacting to the camera, revealing some of the emotional and psychological tension present during this period of non-violent civil dissent.


Explore more than 250 images on Flickr with links to maps, videos and documents to see how events unfolded that summer.

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Witness the persistence, courage and spirit of the protesters as they respond to other townspeople, the media and the police.

Protesters outside The College Shoppe, Farmville, Va., Saturday, July 27, 1963 Protester carrying closing of Schools sign Protester carrying practice what you preach sign


Participate by adding your recollections of these events to help future students and scholars.

How you can participate

VCU Libraries presents the Freedom Now Project Flickr set in the hopes that a broad public audience will help us identify the people in these historic photographs and therefore preserve an accurate record of their contribution to the progress of civil rights in America. Comments, including remembrances of these events, are highly encouraged and appreciated.‌

Screenshot of flickr sets

The project is organized into albums by location. Select the album of images you wish to view, then select any individual photo to see a description of what we know about each image and, sometimes, links to a present-day view of the site or other interesting facts.

Use the search box at the upper right corner of the page to search within VCU Libraries' Photostream for a person's name or for a tag such as "photographer" "police" or "street view."

To comment, you might first create a free Flickr account.

Once you create an account, a comment box will appear beneath each photograph's description.

You can also favorite, share, or download a copy of any photograph.

Flickr social icons guide

If you have questions or information that you prefer to share directly with VCU Libraries, please contact the project manager, Alice W. Campbell, at or call (804) 828-7934.

Explore the Freedom Now Project now. We appreciate your interest and your help.  

Story update

Since its launch in April 2014, the Freedom Now Project has identified nearly 80 people who participated in these protests. To learn more about their stories: