A key part of history that has shaped the Farmville and Prince Edward County communities is coming to life—told through the eyes of the people who experienced it.

A new publication—the result of a collaboration between Moton Museum and Longwood University—will highlight 17 stories of men and women who experienced the effects of the Prince Edward County school closings from 1959-64. Titled Their Voices, Our History, the magazine will feature large-scale photographs and personal stories that reveal stunning insight and clarity into a defining period of our shared history.

The publication will be available free of charge at an opening reception for a photography exhibit highlighting the magazine’s art on April 28 from 5-7 p.m. at Robert Russa Moton Museum. The exhibit will be open until April 30. Members of the public are invited to attend the reception.

The collaboration between the community members who shared their stories and Longwood students is part of a paired advanced writing and photography course. Twenty-nine Longwood students worked in teams to record and present the photographs and stories that make up the magazine.

"Individuals who experienced the school closings have often been portrayed as the crippled or lost generation.  These stories directly challenge this interpretation and open up new ways of understanding this period. Students and their families were brave, creative, and resilient in seeking ways to be educated during the school closings," said Dr. Larissa Fergeson, professor of history who co-taught the course with Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust and Michael Mergen.  "We are grateful to those individuals who have been willing to share their stories with our students. We hope this publication will give community members an opportunity to learn and talk about our shared past and encourage others to tell their story."   

In 2014, the collaborative course published a similar magazine, 10 Stories, 50 Years Later, which has been distributed and read nationally.

The Robert Russa Moton Museum is a National Historic Landmark and the student birthplace of America’s Civil Rights Revolution.

Their Voices, Our History cover
Their Voices, Our History cover

Leave a Comment