FARMVILLE, VA. _ About 150 people turned out for a gala fundraiser and tribute to Robert Russa Moton Museum’s major contributors on Friday, April 23, 2010.
In addition, Actor/Director Tim Reid also previewed his film “Strike: April 23, 1951.”
Reid directed and produced the movie, which is the dramatization of the day Moton students walked out to protest inferior conditions and took the first steps toward desegregation of the school system. The film was underwritten by The Dominion Foundation.
“We wanted to let the young people know what it was like for the 400 young people who gathered that day,” Reid said. ”This is part of this county.”
Students from Longwood University and Prince Edward County who appeared as extras in Reid’s film helped host the event.
The event included the unveiling of the Moton 2011 capital project, with the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the National Education Association among Moton’s major contributors recognized for their support of Moton 2011: the Permanent Exhibition.
“Tonight is really the countdown to the 60th anniversary of the event we are going to recognize tonight: the student walkout,” Museum Director Lacy Ward Jr. said.
Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson gave remarks, noting “We’ve all come a long way; we’ve got a long way to go. I will use my position to support 2011 and support what we are doing.”
During the gala program, the strike leaders were who participated in that walkout were also recognized and presented with a silver note card holder with the 2011 logo on it.
The Robert Russa Moton Museum is located at 900 Griffin Boulevard, Farmville, Virginia. It is the site of the April 23, 1951 student walkout, led by 16-year-old junior Barbara Johns, in protest of inferior educational facilities.
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 landmark 1954 Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision.
Joan Johns Cobbs said her sister Barbara Johns “would be very happy about the film and all the accolades she has received since she passed in 1991.”
Moton museum is establishing a permanent exhibit that will trace Prince Edward County’s 13-year struggle to establish an integrated school system. The exhibition will be in place by April 23, 2011, the 60th anniversary of the student protest. It will offer the only place in the Commonwealth of Virginia where visitors can come to understand the processes by which citizens and their national, state, and local governments resolved the policy issues of segregation in public education. For more information visit the museum’s web site at https://motonmuseum.org <https://motonmuseum.org/> .