Last Friday, the Moton Museum held a screening of “All the Way,” an HBO movie depicting the first term of former President Lyndon B. Johnson (actor Bryan Cranston) after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The movie focuses heavily on Johnson’s history with civil rights legislation and his complications with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (actor Anthony Mackie).
The Moton Museum is what remains of Robert Russa Moton High School, formerly the segregated Prince Edward County school for African American students. The majority of plaintiffs for the landmark civil rights case, Brown vs. Board of Education, stemmed from the student protests toward Prince Edward County Public Schools.
Moton Museum’s Interim Director of Education and Public Programs Cainan Townsend, says that the Museum usually shows several movies per year, usually about the American struggle for racial equality.
“Understanding the politics behind passing the civil rights legislation (was my favorite part of the movie),” said Townsend, a Longwood graduate. “Just because it’s not something you really think about …(it was) a real struggle.”
“All the Way” primarily focuses on the fight for civil rights for African Americans, and it was selected as part of the Martin Luther King program. Townsend said the Moton Museum, open year-round, will continue to show movies illuminating the subject.
In “All the Way,” Cranston captured Johnston’s tendencies like the late president’s method of getting in the personal space of people he wished to intimidate. The film also portrayed the murky waters of politics as it showed the Democratic Party’s embrace of social justice under the Johnson Administration, which caused the administration to lose the support of white, southern conservatives; the so-called “Dixiecrats” defected to the Republican Party.
Townsend said in fall 2016, the Museum hosted a screening of “Freedom Riders,” the 2010 PBS documentary about activists who rode buses to challenge segregation.
This upcoming Valentine’s Day, they will show “The Loving Story,” which is the documentary about the court case that made interracial marriage bans illegal.