Moton Earns Spot In VA's Top Six List

Published 3:52 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

FARMVILLE — What do these historic destinations have in common?

The Moton Museum.

The National D-Day Memorial.

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Historic Jamestowne.

The Mill Mountain Star.

The Cape Henry Lighthouse.

And the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is promoting them collectively as “six things for history buffs to do and see in 2014.”

“When it comes to Virginia’s Civil Rights history,” observed Moton Museum associate director for museum operations, Justin Reid, “there’s no site more important than Moton. Prince Edward County really is ‘the Jamestowne’ of America’s Civil Rights movement. The Moton School is the 20th century’s Monticello. Word is finally beginning to spread. We recently had a family drive all the way from Ohio just to visit Moton; their daughter had come across our history in the National Archives.”

Here’s what the VTC has to say about the Moton Museum:

“2014 marks 60 years since the decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court for Brown v. Board of Education, a case that desegregated schools and had a 16-year old Farmville, Virginia girl at its roots.

“Visit the Robert Russa Moton Museum to learn how a leaky, cold, overcrowded Robert Russa Moton High School pushed Barbara Johns and her peers to fight for equality in education (75 percent of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education were students in the 1951 Moton Student Strike). The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and is called the student birthplace of America’s Civil Rights Movement.”

Commenting on VTC’s decision to give Moton Museum such primacy, Dorothy Holcomb, the museum Council’s chair, observed, “Although Prince Edward County had a national impact, it happened in our community and as Council Chair, I would like to encourage the community to embrace the rich history of the museum and promote its mission in a positive manner that is representative of the entire community.”

Reid believes the Virginia Tourism Corporation clearly understands “the national significance of Prince Edward County’s Civil Rights story and sees our community’s potential. One hundred years ago, the City of Williamsburg was a sleepy Civil War town; they didn’t see the value in their colonial history. Fortunately, a small group of determined, forward-thinking citizens did. They brought in historians, preservationists and outside investment, and today, Colonial Williamsburg attracts over two million annual visitors.

“I’ve worked for Colonial Williamsburg,” the Cumberland County native and the College of William and Mary graduate pointed out. “Prince Edward has a more inspiring story.”