Moton Live

Moton Live

About Moton Live

Commemorate the past. Seize the moment. Pledge to the future.

Seventy years ago, in 1951, students stood to protest their overcrowded school. Although they didn’t know it, the course of an entire nation shifted. On that day, Farmville became the center of a pivotal discussion about race and civil rights.

“This is the moment,” Barbara Johns said. “Seize it.”

For decades, the Moton Museum has made itself the home of this vital, ongoing conversation. It’s the nation’s only civil rights museum that commemorates the walk-out and lock-out generations. It also serves to inspire the ongoing fight for equality and freedom for those who stand on the front line now.

On April 23, 2021, the Moton Museum will be making history again. We invite you to join us for this innovative, collaborative, virtual fundraising event.

Moton Live will be an exciting 10-hour celebration of Barbara Rose Johns and the landmark school walkout she led with her classmates on April 23, as well as the following generation who navigated a world with no schools with braveness and determination.

The Moton Museum will mark the 20th anniversary of opening our doors to the public, making this an especially historic moment.

Be a part of this massive virtual celebration. We seek to raise over $30,000 to support the Moton Museum and our Operations, Education, and Outreach initiatives.

Streaming live via Facebook, YouTube, and right here, Moton Live 2021 will inspire, challenge, and change you as we bring the world together with these students’ dream in mind.

Be a part of Moton Live 2021.


Pledge Your Support Today!

Any gift has the ability to make an impact that far exceeds its size! Donations will go towards our Operations, Education, and Outreach initiatives, opening doors for opportunities and equality in education. In 2020, we engaged with more than 15,000 individuals! Read our impact report to learn more.

Donors will receive an 8.5 x 11 poster of the Barbara Johns mural along with recognition throughout the calendar year with our various public program offerings.

  • One Payment of $50 -or- Four Monthly Payments of $12.50
  • One Payment of $100 -or- Four Monthly Payments of $25
  • One Payment of $200 -or- Four Monthly Payments of $50


Welcome to our session schedule.

We are excited to present an interactive and immersive line-up from leaders in our community who are making history with their own efforts.

Sessions will include special segments from civic leaders, museum leaders, and those who have been foundational to the birth and growth of Moton Museum over the years. We’re thrilled to bring new and familiar faces to you during this 10-hour event.

Look for a variety of exciting live content and music included in this schedule. Don’t forget that giveaways will be happening throughout the event as well.

Over the next 10 hours, we will highlight our past, present, and future as we think about our future goals and aspirations.

Commemorate the past. Seize the moment. Pledge to the future.

10:00 AM

Opening Remarks from Members of
the Commission on Historic Statues
in the U.S. Capitol

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Senator Louise Lucas, Delegate Jeion Ward, and former Delegate Margi Vanderhye have been long supporters of the Moton Museum and our mission to preserve and promote the courage and sacrifice of Prince Edward County citizens towards the fight for educational equality. Both Senator Lucas and Delegate Ward serve as Co-Chairs of the Commission for Historic Statues in the U.S. Capitol with former Delegate Margi Vanderhye serving as a member as well.

The Commission recommended in December of 2020 that Barbara Rose Johns join the National Statuary Hall Collection as one of Virginia’s representatives. They also have championed legislation in the Virginia General Assembly to make it official. They will share a few reflections and update on the Commissions work as we move forward.

  • Hon. Senator Louise Lucas, President pro-tempore of the Virginia State Senate
  • Hon. Delegate Jeion Ward, Virginia House of Delegates – 92nd District
  • Hon. Margi Vanderhye, former Member Virginia House of Delegates

10:20 AM

Students Connect with the Moton School Story

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A group of students and their teacher become inspired by the Moton Story and want to ensure that others across the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond have that same opportunity. Maura Keaney’s fourth grade students, nearly 50 successfully petitioned Governor Northam as part of the inaugural African American Historic Marker contest for Barbara Johns to have a marker that honors her and the students of Robert Russa Moton High School and Prince Edward County. Join us as we hear from those students, their teacher, and what inspired this important action.

  • Cameron Patterson, Moderator and Executive Director, Moton Museum
  • Maura Keaney, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Students of Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Hon. Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia
  • Hon. Atif Qarni, Secretary of Education for Virginia
  • Hon. Matthew Strickler, Secretary of Natural Resources for Virginia

11:20 AM

Their Voices, Our History:
A Look at the 1951 Student Walkout

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For nearly five years, the Robert Russa Moton Museum has pursued an academic partnership with faculty and students at Longwood University to document the stories of those who engaged in the civil rights struggle over equal education in Prince Edward County, Virginia.

Young people’s activism has always been at the heart of our local civil rights history. Join us as we hear from former Robert Russa Moton High School students who followed Barbara Johns and the Student Strike Committee out of school and into history on April 23, 1951. The stories they will share are featured in the latest publication of the Longwood-Moton Magazine Project.

  • Cainan Townsend, Moderator and Director of Education & Outreach for the Moton Museum
  • Joy Cabarrus Speakes, Moton Student Striker & Brown v. Board of Education Plaintiff
  • Joan Johns Cobbs, Moton Student Striker & Brown v. Board of Education Plaintiff
  • Reverend J. Samuel Williams Jr., Moton Student Striker & SNVCC Founder

1:20 PM

Their Voices, Our History: A Look at
the Prince Edward School Closings

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For nearly five years, the Moton Museum has pursued an academic partnership with faculty and students at Longwood University to document the stories of those who engaged in the civil rights struggle over equal education in Prince Edward County, Virginia. This publication features individuals engaged in Prince Edward’s civil rights history between 1959 and 1964.

Join our panel of former Prince Edward County students impacted by the school closings as we share their stories, which resonate with action and resilience. These stories demonstrate how students mobilized in educated and creative ways to enact their right to equal schooling.

  • Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust, Associate Professor of English, Longwood University
  • Mr. James Ghee, Attorney & President, Prince Edward County NAACP
  • Hon. Mrs. Elzora Stiff, Prince Edward County Public Schools
  • Mrs. Jaqueline Reid, Bland Reid Funeral Home

3:20 PM

The Building of our Permanent Exhibit: Moton School Story: Children of Courage  

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A signature part of the development of the Robert Russa Moton Museum during the past 20 years has been the renovation of the museum and the development of an award-winning exhibit, Moton School Story: Children of Courage. Our panel discussion introduces the team who began the historic preservation process for the museum and describes the development of the award-winning permanent exhibit.

  • Dr. J. Michael Utzinger, Moderator, Moton Museum Resident Scholar
  • Dr. Larissa Smith, Moton Museum Resident Scholar
  • Terry Ammons, Principal of Studio Ammons
  • Lacy Ward Jr., Former & Founding Director of the Moton Museum

5:20 PM

Moton’s Impact in the Community and Beyond

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Moton’s mission is as relevant and needed as ever before. Every day adults and youth are confronted with challenges and issues both in their own lives and in the communities in which they live. They must be able to relate historical content to their lives. Museums and historic landmarks have the ability to help individuals engage with history on a deeper level. Join this discussion as we talk about the impact of Moton’s work and how the museum can continue to have an impact on those around us.

  • Cainan Townsend, Director of Education & Outreach
  • Cameron Patterson, Executive Director, Moton Museum
  • Leah Brown, Assistant Director of Education, Moton Museum
  • Sherre Atkins, Guest Services Coordinator, Moton Museum
  • Justin Reid, Director of Community Programs, Virginia Humanities

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Virgil Wood
Margot Lee Shetterly

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Dr. Virgil Wood

Founder of the Beloved Community Initiative

Dr. Wood, Church leader, educator, and civil rights activist has committed much of his life’s work to the struggle for economic and spiritual development among the nation’s disadvantaged.

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Margo Lee Shetterly

Author & Founder of the Human Computer Project

Margo Lee Shetterly is the author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow / HarperCollins). She is also the founder of The Human Computer Project, an endeavor that is recovering the names and accomplishments of all of the women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists and engineers at the NACA and NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s.

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Musical Entertainment

Jackson, Pendergrass, & Townsend
Dr. Lisa Edwards-Burrs

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Jackson, Pendergrass, and Townsend (JPT)

Jazz Trio

JPT has quickly become a local favorite within the Farmville and Prince Edward County area. They give us a new spin on great American music. We are excited as they share original music including their song “Walk-Out” as we commemorate the Moton Student Strike.

Dr. Lisa Edwards-Burrs,

Soprano Singer & Performer

Lisa Edwards Burrs who has been described as “a soprano of crystalline beauty”, received degrees in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia (B.M. and M.M.) and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (D.M.A.). An accomplished lyric-coloratura soprano, her performances in recital, oratorio and chamber music are extensive. Her operatic roles include: Athena in The Furies, Ola/Harriet Tubman in Vanqui, Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Monica in The Medium, Despina in Così fan tutte, Treemonisha in Treemonisha, Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Our Sponsors

Thank you to the 2021 sponsors of Moton Live!

Premier Sponsor – $5,000

Community Benefactor – $2,500

Southside Electric Cooperative
Letterpress Communications
Virginia Humanities
Luck Stone

Bridge Builders – $1,000

AARP of Virginia
Andy Taylor Center for Early Childhood Development
Benchmark Community Bank
Longwood University Call Me Mister Program
Fuqua School
Longwood University College of Education and Human Services
Longwood Institute for Teaching Through Innovatice Practice
Longwood University Speech, Hearing, and Learning Services
Sands Anderson