Hailey Belote ’23 and Gabrielle Bustillos ’24 are wrapping up their tenure as the first-ever Moss Scholars, a collaborative program between the Moton Museum and Longwood University that commemorates the legacy of Dr. C. G. Gordon Moss.
In their role at the museum, Belote and Bustillos worked to brainstorm and then implement programming and events that brought members of the Farmville and Longwood communities to Moton. They helped with the planning and logistics of movie screenings, discussions and the annual Moss Lecture, which was held on Longwood’s campus in late March.
I’m passionate about making sure that all of Longwood knows about that history and that students engage with the museum during their time here.Hailey Belote ’23 Tweet This
“My favorite part has been finding ways to get more Longwood students to visit the museum,” said Belote, a history major with a concentration in public history. “I’m passionate about making sure that all of Longwood knows about that history and that students engage with the museum during their time here.”
In March, Moton hosted a screening of the movie Till, which is based on the true story of Mamie Till-Bradley, who pursued justice after the murder of her 14-year-old son, Emmett, in 1955. That was four years after the 1951 student-led walkout at Moton to protest the conditions of the segregated, all-Black high school and four years before Prince Edward County closed its public schools to avoid integration in 1959. After the movie screening, Belote led a discussion with the audience.
“It was a really good discussion because some people were from the area and some people were from as far away as Phoenix [Arizona],” she said. “And they had no idea of the history of the museum or the school lockout.”
Belote said when she first arrived at Longwood from her hometown of Fredericksburg, she wasn’t familiar at all with the Moton story or Barbara Johns. Then she went to the museum a few times her freshman year and last spring she was an intern at Moton and worked with some of its archival holdings.
I had the opportunity to work on my leadership, teamwork and communication skills while being in the program.Gabrielle Bustillos ’24
Bustillos, a kinesiology major with a concentration in applied health sciences profession, said she knew about some of Moton’s history, but was excited to learn more through her work as a Moss Scholar.
“I had the opportunity to work on my leadership, teamwork and communication skills while being in the program,” said Bustillos, who is from Manassas, Virginia. “I hope to be given the opportunity to participate in this program again next year and hopefully bring more ideas to life that get not only the Longwood community but also the Farmville community involved through various fun and educational events.”
Bustillos and Belote are both members of the Cormier Honors College. Moss Scholars are selected annually and serve in a leadership role working with museum staff to help connect Longwood students with the Moton Museum. They work to provide volunteer experiences for students and assist museum staff in building engagement experiences for the broader Farmville and Prince Edward communities.
The scholars have been instrumental this year in making sure Longwood students know about our programming and encouraging campus participation.Cainan Townsend ’15, M.S. ’20, managing director of the Moton Museum
“The Moss Scholars program provides a way to strengthen the campus community’s connection to Moton,” said Cainan Townsend ’15, M.S. ’20, managing director of the museum. “We try to provide an experience for the scholars that aligns with their major and future career goals. The scholars have been instrumental this year in making sure Longwood students know about our programming and encouraging campus participation.”
The Moss Scholars program commemorates the legacy of Dr. C.G. Gordon Moss, who was a professor of history at Longwood from 1944-1969. He became an outspoken advocate of reopening the schools and of equality and justice for all American citizens.
Moss Scholars receive a $2,500 scholarship. Rising full-time juniors and seniors in good academic and disciplinary standing are eligible to apply. Applicants should also demonstrate a commitment to the ideals important to Dr. Moss and the Moton story.
Belote said she gained practical skills during her year as a Moss Scholar that will be useful when she graduates and enters the professional world. She aspires to become a teacher.
“I got to engage with professionals in the field, learn how to talk to the community and hold discussions, and I got experience with event planning as well,” she said.