March 19, 2003
Story by Ken Woodley of the Farmville Herald
NAACP CEO Kweisi Mfume left the NAACP Image Awards ceremony in Los Angeles last Saturday with a brochure of the R. R. Moton Museum in his hands.
It was put there by Carl U. Eggleston, president of the museum’s board of directors.
That personal contact with Mfume, NAACP president Julian Bond, and others could pay important dividends to the museum as next year’s 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board Supreme Court decision unfolds.
“I was able to meet and mingle with a lot of people,” Eggleston said of the trip, funded by Wachovia Bank. “I encouraged them that they need to include us in the 50th anniversary.”
Eggleston said he also lay the groundwork for potential sponsorship of a major event next year at the museum.
“They agreed there needs to be an ongoing conversation,” Eggleston said. “We had a good opportunity.”
A student strike against separate and unequal conditions at R. R. Moton High School in 1951 led directly to Prince Edward’s involvement as one of the five localities in the Brown case and decision three years later that struck down segregated public schools in the U.S.
Eggleston gave a brochure and fundraising statement to everyone he met and invited them to come to Farmville and visit the museum housed in the former high school building already declared a National Historic Landmark and approved for federal matching funds in the Save America’s Treasures program.
Every dollar contributed, for a limited time, will bring in a federal dollar, Eggleston pointed out in the fundraising statement.
“It went real well,” he said of the trip.
NAACP officials, according to Eggleston, agreed about the “need to do something about this museum” and that “they need to help.”
Eggleston said Wachovia’s sponsorship was crucial. The museum does not have funds within its budget to pay for any such trip.
In his letter to Eggleston, Wachovia Western Region President I. L. Cockman, Jr. wrote, “Wachovia Bank applauds the efforts of the Robert Russa Moton Museum in preserving the civil rights history of Prince Edward…
“I hope this opportunity,” Cockman said of the NAACP Image Awards, “will allow you to further tell and educate attendees and others of the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations in Prince Edward…and the ongoing efforts of the Robert Russa Moton Museum.”
Eggleston said the trip offered that precise opportunity.
Mfume and Bond, Eggleston hopes, will be among those playing the largest role.