When viewers first visit motonschoolstory.org, they see text from the Declaration of Independence appear on the website’s home screen. Then, as they scroll down, five words come to the forefront: All men are created equal.
This idea serves as the introduction to the Robert Russa Moton Museum’s newest website, a companion to the museum’s permanent exhibit describing the history of Moton High School and civil rights in education.
The website includes six galleries that provide information on the student walkout at Moton High School in 1951; the victory resulting from Brown v. Board of Education, of which the case Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County was included; the public school closures in Prince Edward County; and the remarkable courage of students, families, and residents of Prince Edward County.
The Moton Story website has additional resources, including firsthand audio and video accounts from students of Moton High School who participated in education activism and students who experienced the closure of public schools in Prince Edward County. The website also has a blog that will address ongoing issues or stories at the Moton Museum.
Moton Museum Director of Education Cainan Townsend said that the website developed after the museum was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for Humanities in 2020. The Moton Museum was one of 300 cultural institutions in the United States that received a total $40.3 million in CARES Act grants from the National Endowment for Humanities, of which the Moton Museum received $53,000.
The grant came as traveling and occupancy restrictions were taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Townsend said the website allows people to learn and experience Moton’s history virtually, including people who live internationally.
Townsend said the website is meant for everyone, whether the visitors are students, educators, or those interested in learning about the museum and its history.
“I hope people will utilize this site to enhance their knowledge about the Moton School Story,” Townsend said. “This could definitely be in a pre- or post- visit to our physical site, research for some sort of project, or just for casual viewing.”