Robert Moton graduates to be honored at fund-raiser for King scholarships

April 14, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

For more than two decades, alumni of the former Robert Moton School have encouraged young African-Americans in Carroll County to embrace the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s love for learning by awarding scholarships to local youths.

Since 1973, they have been holding annual events -- a King breakfast each January and a dinner dance each spring -- to raise money for scholarships. This year's dinner dance will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Martin's Westminster.

"We're hoping to raise about $5,000 at the dinner," said state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, president of the Former Students and Friends of Robert Moton School Inc.

Nearly 300 people are expected to attend the event, which will honor graduates of 1939, 1949 and 1959.

"The Class of '49 will have every one of its members present," Dixon said. "They're going to make a big announcement." He would not elaborate because "it would spoil the surprise."

The aging graduates of Robert Moton -- once the only school for African-Americans in Carroll -- have started to reflect upon their mortality. Their goal: an endowment that would carry on their work for future generations.

The graduates have raised about $57,000, but they're short by $18,000, Dixon said.

"And we're giving away $5,000 again this June," Dixon added. "So we really need about $20,000 to set up the endowment."

What began with a $500 scholarship in 1974 has grown to include as many as five $1,000 scholarships each year. Over the past 25 years, the former pupils of Robert Moton have helped 82 high school graduates go to college or trade school.

Robert Moton School, named for the black Virginia educator who headed Tuskegee Institute from 1915 to 1935, was a 12-grade school in Westminster for black students. Its building is now part of the Carroll Community College campus. The school opened in 1930 with 60 pupils. It was closed in 1965.

For tickets or information about the dinner dance, call Ralph Hooper, treasurer of the Former Students and Friends of Robert Moton School Inc. at 410-876-5430 or Treasurer Dixon 410-848-6943.

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