Robert Russa Moton High School was built in 1939 as a public school for black students in Prince Edward County. As early as the 1940s, the school’s conditions were becoming problematic. Overcrowding was a major issue, with 450 students occupying a space built for only 180. When it rained, students had to use umbrellas inside the school to stay dry because the roof leaked badly. The walkout led by students Barbara Johns and John Arthur Stokes was the impetus for a successful Supreme Court battle that resulted in a decision in favor of integration.
In 1993, the building that formerly housed Moton High School was closed, but the school was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998. The Moton School has now been turned into a museum commemorating the fight for civil rights in public education and features a permanent exhibit called “The Moton School Story: Children of Courage.” The museum also contains Moton High School memorabilia, other relics of the Civil Rights Movement, and oral histories of teachers and students who were part of the walkout. Stop by for a docent-guided tour of the museum and learn more about the brave students who led the fight for integration in Farmville.