Before the sit-ins in Greensboro, before the Montgomery bus boycott, there was the 1951 Moton Student Strike in Farmville, Virginia. The 13-year battle to desegregate Prince Edward County’s public schools would reshape the nation and the future of American education. Beginning April 29th, 2013, “The Moton School Story: Children of Courage” will share this history with the world.
The Moton Museum’s permanent exhibition begins with the April 1951 strike against separate, but unequal conditions at Farmville’s R.R. Moton High School. From this youth-led direct action emerges the largest and only student-initiated case among the five that comprise Brown v. Board of Education. The exhibition continues through Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” to school desegregation, followed by Prince Edward’s extreme decision to close all public schools from 1959 until 1964. In the final gallery, visitors encounter the 1963-64 Kennedy Administration-supported Free School system, and end with the Supreme Court’s 1964 Griffin decision reopening county schools, ensuring free desegregated education for all.
This new permanent exhibit has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.