Fun Facts of Robert Russa Moton an Unsung Hero (1867-1940)

  • Moton’s best childhood friend in Rice, Virginia, George Denney, a white man, served as President of the University of Alabama while Moton was Principal of Tuskegee.


  • Moton turned down a movie role in 1935.  He had been solicited the part of “De Lawd” in the movie: “The Green Pastures.”


  • His long, smooth, silky hands were said to be like the hands of a woman (as described by his niece, Mary Booth Bright).


  • Moton’s children owned Holly Knoll until 1958 when it was deeded over to the Robert R. Moton Memorial Foundation, an organization established by his son-in-law, Frederick D. Patterson.


  • Moton once chased George Washington Carver down Booker T. Washington Drive on the Tuskegee Campus to force Carver to wear graduation regalia.  Moton was physically larger and faster than Carver, and Carver returned wearing the regalia that he had previously refused to wear.  While this tactic would appear mean-spirited and dictatorial on the part of Moton, those who knew the two men laughed as they knew the affection and admiration each man had for the other.


  • May 30, 1922-Robert Russa Moton delivers an address at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.


  • Dr. Robert Russa Moton sat on the boards of major philanthropic organizations with the likes of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller Jr., and his influence was considerable. When Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, provided the funding to build more than 6,000 “Rosenwald” schools for rural Southern African Americans, Moton’s skills were clearly in play behind the scenes


  • Moton Field at Tuskegee was named for him, as was Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, the site of a student walkout in 1951.


  • Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis visited Holly Knoll in the 60’s for a conference. Congressman Lewis shared with our students his memories of Holly Knoll and how great the food was.