National Endowment for the Humanities Awards $40,000 Planning Grant to Moton Museum

April 6, 2009

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded the Robert Russa Moton Museum a grant of $40,000 in support of Moton 2011.  In addition, the project was designated a National Endowment for the Humanities “We the People” project and is being supported in part by funds the agency has set aside for this special initiative.

Moton 2011 is the Moton Museum’s plan to install a series of permanent exhibition galleries within the auditorium and five classrooms of the former R.R. Moton High School, which will chronicle Prince Edward County, Virginia’s thirteen-year struggle (1951-1964) for Civil Rights in Education.  The galleries will be dedicated in 2011 in observance of the 60th anniversary of the April 23, 1951 Moton student strike which precipitated the County’s Civil Rights Era saga.

“The goal of the ‘We the People’ initiative is to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through the support of projects that explore significant events and themes in our nation’s history and culture and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America,” stated NEH Acting Chairman Carole M. Watson.  “I anticipate that your project will contribute significantly to this effort.”

The Moton Museum permanent exhibit will offer the only place in the Commonwealth where visitors can trace Prince Edward County’s move from a segregated to an integrated school system.  Visitors will come to understand the processes by which citizens and their national, state and local governments resolved the policy issues of racial segregation in public education.

“We are honored to have received this financial vote of support from the esteemed National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Moton Museum Chairman Robert Hamlin.  “This grant will further our opportunities to tell the stories that defined a part of Virginia and US history and the people affected by that history,”

The Robert Russa Moton Museum is located in the National Historic Landmark former R. R. Moton High School. The Museum preserves and interprets the role Prince Edward County’s citizens played in America’s struggle to move from a segregated to an integrated society.

The Moton Museum is located in the former R. R. Moton High School at 900 Griffin Boulevard, Farmville, Virginia.  Moton was the site of the April 23, 1951 student walkout in protest of inferior educational facilities led by 16-year-old sophomore Barbara Johns.  The Moton strike launched Prince Edward County’s 13-year struggle for Civil Rights in Education and resulted in the filing of Davis v. Prince Edward, which called for an end to racial segregation in public education.  Davis was decided, along with four other cases, in the Supreme Court decisions Brown v. Board (1954) and Brown II (1955).

Moton Museum volunteer Henry Cabarrus addresses a group of High School students from Farifax, Virginia on the histroical significanse of the museum.