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Tea, hats help Moton Family Challenge

Hundreds of women, some accompanied by their husbands and families, gathered inside Longwood University’s Blackwell Ballroom for the R.R. Moton Museum Family Challenge’s annual Rainbow Tea & Hat Sale on Saturday afternoon.

Longwood and its food vendor, Aramark, provided the meal, including tea. The program also included door prizes of copies of The Girl from the Tarpaper School by Teri Kanefield, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County by Kristen Green and Educated in Spite Of by Dorothy Holcomb. Other prizes included Mary Kay gift certificates and a shawl from Vellie’s Boutique.

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD  A selection of the hats for sale — which would also be modeled — during the Rainbow Tea & Hat Sale event Saturday sit in Longwood University’s Blackwell Ballroom. Vellie’s Boutique in Farmville, which sponsored the hat show portion of the event, donated 50 percent of the hats’ sales Saturday to the R.R. Moton Museum.

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD
A selection of the hats for sale — which would also be modeled — during the Rainbow Tea & Hat Sale event Saturday sit in Longwood University’s Blackwell Ballroom. Vellie’s Boutique in Farmville, which sponsored the hat show portion of the event, donated 50 percent of the hats’ sales Saturday to the R.R. Moton Museum.

Dr. Theresa Clark, of Longwood University, served as mistress of ceremonies. As part of her opening remarks, she asked for a moment of silence to remember the late Col. Martha Stokes Cleveland, who passed away in September. She remembered Cleveland as someone who supported not only the Moton Museum, but Longwood University itself, including its “Call Me Mister” program.

Rainbow Tea & Hat Show Committee Chair Beatrice Kennedy welcomed everyone to the fourth annual event. As indicated on the event’s program, Kennedy said the Moton Family Challenge “honors the families of whose school-age children were at the center of Prince Edward County’s 1951 to 1964 fight for civil rights through education.”

Through the Challenge, donations can be designated in memory of those children and families “whose sacrifice transformed American education for all.”

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD Moton Museum Family Challenge Chair Joy Cabarrus Speakes models a fancy hat during the event.

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD
Moton Museum Family Challenge Chair Joy Cabarrus Speakes models a fancy hat during the event.

Dr. Clark then introduced all the Color Captains — Family Challenge teams designated by the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

The program also included two musical selections performed by Prince Edward County Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark, accompanied by Perry Carrington on piano. In addition, Lila Osborne Redd gave testimony about overcoming numerous health issues, including cancer, and then performed a liturgical dance.

As attendees finished their meals, the hat show portion of the program began with Vellie’s Boutique and Diamond Hill owner Vellie Dietrich-Hall calling out the models — made up of volunteers from the various teams — and describing the hats they wore.

Dietrich-Hall announced that 50 percent of proceeds made from purchasing hats Saturday would go to the Motom Museum.

Family Challenge Chair Joy Cabarrus Speakes made the closing remarks, thanking the event’s sponsors and the various teams.

“I am proud and thankful for what you are doing,” Speakes said. “No one thought we would raise enough money … (but) in six years we have raised almost $300,000.”

Speakes announced that this year’s efforts have added $50,000 to the total — enough, she said, to pay for two scholarships that could range over an entire four-year course of study.

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD Lily Osborne Redd, a cancer survivor, performs a liturgical dance during Saturday’s Rainbow Tea & Hat Sale.

MARTIN L. CAHN | HERALD
Lily Osborne Redd, a cancer survivor, performs a liturgical dance during Saturday’s Rainbow Tea & Hat Sale.

Speakes said this proves “families together can do an awesome job.”