African American students and adults gather outside Free School No. 2 (later named the Mary E. Branch School) in Farmville to register for the school, which formally opened on September 16, 1963. For some of the students it would be their first experience in school since 1959, when the Prince Edward County school board decided to close the public schools rather than integrate them. Free School No. 2 was one of three local school buildings leased for a year by the Prince Edward Free School Association with the support of the Kennedy administration and private funds.