Located in Cappahosic on the York River, Holly Knoll was the retirement home of Dr. Robert Russa Moton. Moton was born in 1867 and graduated from the Hampton Institute in 1890. In 1935, after serving for twenty years as principal of Tuskegee Institute, Dr. Moton retired to this newly built home in Gloucester County. As the second president of Tuskegee Institute and the successor to Dr. Booker T. Washington, Dr. Moton guided Tuskegee's progression into an accredited college and University.
In his retirement Dr. Moton's famous invitation "Come to Cappahosic" brought many friends and fellow citizens from near and far to discuss and resolve issues affecting the African-American community, especially in the field of education. For example, The United Negro College Fund was a significant outgrowth of a conference of African-American college presidents held at the Moton Center.
After Dr. Moton's death in 1940, his son-in-law Frederick Patterson established the Moton Conference Center at Holly Knoll to continue Dr. Moton's work in education. Under Dr. Patterson Holly Knoll was expanded into a full conference center by adding residential space and training facilities. During the 1950s and 60s plans were made for the economic development of historically black colleges and universities, while a "think tank" on social justice and related issues was continued from Dr. Moton's time. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is said to have drafted portions of the "I Have a Dream" speech from a bench under the 400-year-old live oak.
The Gloucester Institute purchased Holly Knoll in 2005 to serve as the home for its six major programs. The Institute spent $1.8 million dollars to renovate and restore Holly Knoll and the Moton Conference Center. Holly Knoll is listed on both the Virginia Landmarks and the National Historic Places registries.
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6496 Allmondsville Rd