Tobacco Commission Awards Robert Russa Moton Museum Additional $520,000

August 26, 2009

The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has awarded the Robert Russa Moton Museum $520,000 to design exhibits for Moton 2011.  The Tobacco Commission’s July 30th vote to provide the funding followed the recommendation of the board’s Special Projects Committee.

The application was prepared with the assistance of the Commonwealth Regional Council, and the funding will allow for complete exhibition planning of the five classrooms, which will form the heart of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, known as Moton 2011.  An April 23, 2011 exhibition opening is planned for Moton 2011.

Following completion of the design drawings, museum advocates will be in a position to pursue additional funding for exhibit fabrication and installation.

“We are pleased that the Tobacco Commission could offer assistance to ensure that the Robert Russa Moton Museum will stay and thrive in Farmville, Virginia,” said Charles R. Hawkins, Chairman, Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

State Senator Frank Ruff, Del. Clarke Hogan and Farmville insurance agent Scott Harwood Sr. helped secure the funds as members of the tobacco commission.

“The grant is extremely important,” Sen. Ruff said. “For most non-profits to receive grants from many, if not most charitable foundations, they are required to have match money. The funds from the Tobacco Commission will be used to attract additional dollars to expand the vision of the Moton Board as they move forward.”

“I love history and this is just one part of the history that makes all of us a community,” continued Ruff.  “Additionally, as a member of the Martin Luther King Commission I have been able to get a better understanding of how important Moton was to what was going on nationally in the late 50′s and early 60′s.”

With the help of the Commonwealth Regional Council, The Robert Russa Moton Museum received a  $116,679 grant from the Tobacco Commission in 2008 to install new thermal pane windows.  The windows have been installed and provide better insulation, reducing the museum’s electric bills and help preserve artifacts and memorabilia.

André V. Gilliam, community development planner with the Commonwealth Regional Council, wrote the application and said the windows are important to the museum.

“Extremely … essential to the weatherization efforts of the facility…energy lost during the summer and winter months resulted in huge electric bills,” Gilliam said. “It was a great opportunity to address these much need weatherization issues…windows being the primary focus, because past cost estimates were around the amount available.”

Some of the funds were also used to address other weatherization issues such as attic insulation, door seals, alternative and supplementary heating source during extreme cold periods to augment the heat pump system until exhausted.”

The mission of the Moton Museum is to preserve and positively interpret the history of Civil Rights in Education, specifically as it relates to Prince Edward County and the role its citizens played in America’s struggle to move to an integrated society. The Museum is an educational resource for the Commonwealth of Virginia, accessible to students, educators and the public at large.  The economic development potential of Civil Rights tourism has been well documented by the states of the Deep South.

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) in which the court ruled that school boards must act “with all deliberate speed” to desegregate.