On this day in 1744, William Byrd II died (with a flourish). Even in his later years, he kept a regular schedule. On March 13, 1741, according to his diary: “I rose about 6, read Hebrew and Greek. I prayed and had hominy. I danced.” On the 14th: “I rose about 6, read Hebrew and Greek. I prayed and had tea. I danced.” On the 15th: “I rose about 6, read Hebrew and Greek. I prayed and had coffee. I danced.”
To be a fly on the wall.
Anyway, also on this day, 123 years later, Robert Russa Moton was born in Amelia County. Moton’s name is infamous in Virginia for the high school that took his name and the strike its students staged in 1951. But lest we forget the man for the building, recall that Moton was a graduate of Hampton Institute and then commandant of cadets there; a friend of Booker T. Washington, he became Tuskegee’s second principal after Washington’s death in 1915; and the school’s airfield, the practice ground for the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, is named Moton Field.
Which is all fine and good. But did he dance?
A version of this post was originally published on August 26, 2011.