Farmville, VA—Anne Holton, former secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia, will deliver the keynote address at the sixth annual Moton Museum Community Banquet at 6:00pm on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at the Longwood University Health and Fitness Center.
Holton served as secretary of education from 2014-16, when she resigned to join her husband, U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, on his vice-presidential campaign. Holton and Kaine visited the Moton Museum on October 4, 2016, the day the vice-presidential debate was held at Longwood University.
Holton has spent her career in public service in Virginia, both as a lawyer and a judge in the City of Richmond’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. As first lady of Virginia from 2005-2009, she continued to advocate on behalf of children, particularly those in the foster system, in an effort to address issues she encountered in her experiences on the bench.
As a child, Holton was on the frontlines of Virginia’s battle over school integration. When her father Linwood Holton became governor of Virginia in 1970, he chose to send his children to integrated public schools in Richmond, rather than to private schools.
Holton’s experience connects her to the history of Prince Edward County, where young people played a leading role in the national struggle for civil rights in education. In 1951, students at Moton High School, led by sixteen-year-old Barbara Johns, staged a walkout in protest of the overcrowded conditions they endured. Their protest resulted in a court case that the Supreme Court decided as part of its 1954 landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated education unconstitutional. Five years later, in 1959, Prince Edward County chose to close its public schools rather than obey a court order to desegregate. It took another Supreme Court decision to reopen the schools in 1964.
Now in its sixth year, the Moton Community Banquet celebrates supporters of the Robert R. Moton Museum, Virginia’s only civil rights National Historic Landmark. The banquet specifically recognizes participants in the Moton Family Challenge, an annual fundraising campaign among families connected to Prince Edward’s civil rights history. The deadline for contributions to the 2016 Moton Family Challenge is February 15, 2017.
The Moton Community Banquet is open to the public; tickets are $40 each. To be a sponsor or to purchase tickets to the Moton Community Banquet, go to http://www.motonmuseum.org/annual-community-banquet/ or call the Moton Museum at 434-315-8775. Deadline for sponsorships and tickets is February 8, 2017.