Robert Russa Moton, a vigorous educator


Robert Moton
Date: 
Mon, 1867-08-26

This date marks the birth of Robert Russa Moton in 1867. He was an African American educator, lawyer, and successor to Booker T. Washington as president of Tuskegee Institute.

Born in Amelia County, Virginia, on August 26, Robert Moton enrolled in the Hampton Institute in 1885. After his junior year, he taught and obtained a license to practice law, then returned to Hampton and finished his senior year. In 1900, Moton was elected president of the National Negro Business League and was reelected for the next 20 years.

Moton's working relationship with Booker T. Washington began in 1908, when he accompanied Washington on several tours through the Southern states to promote the Hampton-Tuskegee model of racial advancement through vocational education and interracial cooperation.

Their method consisted of singing "Negro Melodies" led by Moton, followed by a speech from Washington. When Washington died in 1915, Moton assumed many of Washington's roles. As president of Tuskegee from 1915 until 1930, Moton increased Tuskegee's endowment from $2.3 million to $7.77 million and managed to ensure that Tuskegee's vocational curriculum kept up with the changing employment world.

Robert Moton received many honorary degrees. He won the Harmon Award for contributions to better race relations, and, in 1932, the NAACP honored him with the Spingarn medal for distinguished service. He died in 1940.

Reference:
The Moton Museum Project
P.O. Box 908
Farmville, Virginia 23901

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Moton, Robert Russa