Town Supports Moton Museum's $1.6 Million Grant Application

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FARMVILLE – The Town of Farmville has placed its written support on behalf of the Robert Russa Moton Museum's application for $1.6 million from the Virginia Tobacco Commission's Special Projects grant pool.

Town Council voted unanimously to have Town Manager Gerald Spates send the letter of endorsement for the funds that would provide, according to museum director, Lacy Ward, “for fabrication and installation of Moton 2011: the Permanent Exhibition, allowing for the completion of Galleries II-VI.”

In his letter, Spates expresses the Town of Farmville's “overwhelming support” for the application, explaining that “creating a leading Civil Rights Era museum in Southside Virginia, which honors the sacrifices made by students, parents and teachers in Virginia's public schools during the era of Massive Resistance, is a worthy goal and one which Moton is proving can be achieved.”

The town manager notes that in keeping with its mission statement the Moton Museum “strives to represent the diversity of community views related to understanding the motives, strategies, actions and outcomes of our transition from segregated to integrated education.”

Citing the Virginia Tobacco Commission's own funding criteria, Spates said, “We believe the Moton 2011 project meets these criteria, and the Museum is a solidly run and impactful institution in Southside Virginia, worthy of Virginia Tobacco Commission support.”

Those three criteria stipulate activities and/or partnerships which:

Firstly, provide potential positive impacts across a substantial portion of the tobacco region of Virginia.

Secondly, are so innovative in nature that they provide replicable models that could potentially reshape the economies of communities across the tobacco region; and

Thirdly, are so broad in scope and geographic impact that they do not clearly fit under the eligibility and project types for the Commission's other funding pools.

The grant application “certainly should be supported by the Town of Farmville with a letter of support,” said council member, and the Towns representative on the Moton Museum Board of Directors, Sally Thompson.

The former R. R. Moton High School is a National Historic Landmark and the museum anchors the dozen-plus-locality Civil Rights In Education Heritage Trail.

The museum recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the historic April 23, 1951 student strike against separate and unequal school facilities for African Americans.

The resulting legal action against public school segregation, whether the facilities were equal or not, led to Prince Edward County's pivotal inclusion in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Town Officials Reappointed

During July's meeting, Town Council:

Reappointed Gerry Spates as Town Manager.

Reappointed Doug Mooney as Chief of Police.

Reappointed Carol Anne Seal as Town Treasurer.

Reappointed Donald C. Blessing as Town Attorney.

Reappointed Tim McKay and Ben Sears as Farmville Fire Marshals.

Appointed Ben Sears as Acting Fire Chief for the Farmville Volunteer Fire Department.

Reappointed Jack Houghton to the Farmville Industrial Development Authority.

Reappointed Lloyd McKay to the Farmville Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Town Council voted to continue with its monthly meeting schedule of 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month.