HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 2

(2) Because of these challenges, a new high school for Black students was built in Prince Edward County. The school was completed in 1939 and named for Robert Russa Moton, a native son who had succeeded Booker T. Washington as the president of the Tuskegee Institute. At that time, only eleven other high schools for Blacks existed in Virginia, and like them, the new institution proved to have inadequate facilities. Unlike its Whites-only counterpart, Farmville High School, Moton High School had no gymnasium, cafeteria, lockers, or auditorium with fixed seating. Built with a capacity for 180 students, it had 167 when opened. The following year, 219 students were enrolled. By 1950, the enrollment had increased to 477.

As many as three classes were held in the auditorium simultaneously, and at least one was held on a school bus. When the county received an offer of a matching grant from the state in 1947 to build an addition, the Board of Supervisors refused to appropriate the additional local funding necessary. The board was influenced by W.I. Dixon, building supervisor for the state department of public institution, who said any additional construction would be makeshift, with the implication that it therefore should not be undertaken.