Reconstruction Period Research Forum
Reconstruction school - Loudoun VA
I received an e-mail a few days ago from a member of the Black History Committee of the Thomas Balch Library in Loudoun County.
She told me that my gr-grandfather's name was one that was mentioned and I was deighted to receive yesterday the full transcript. Was even more pleased when I saw that most of the men who had contributed and who would be trustees were my family members.
The letters describe Alfred Fox's (a free man of color and some property before the war) desire to donate land:
"Alfred Fox, colored, first agreed to give the land, but some of the interested in that locality threatened violence to the building and persecution to the donor thus frightening him.
The 'Young" referred to is Dr. Young, a black physician who woned the land next to my families.
A list of trustees for the project was requested and the reply was:
"Snickersville Nov 27 ‘67... The names of the trustees are Alfred Fox. James Fields. J. Presley Roberts. John Lewis & Henry Jackson. The three first are men of some property."
James Fields was the father-in-law of my great grandmother's brother Dennis Weaver. J. Presley Roberts is my great grandfather. This is the first time I knew he had another name other than Presley (I now wonder what the J stands for - his sons were named John, James, and Joseph) Henry Jackson is the father-in-law to my great grandmother's sister Maria Weaver Jackson, and father of George Jackson, whose WPA slave narrative I have placed on my website.
John Lewis is another collateral relative - cousin to my cousins.
Another letter deals with the early opposition,stating:
"The subscription list is rapidly increasing by both the Whites & Colored people in the neighborhood. The school will be well supported by the colored people in that locality. I have ascertained that the opposition to the school that I mentioned in my last, was on account of the locality that they designed building upon & not on account of the school itself. The colored people have wisely selected a location just out of the village & have recd substantial support from those who first opposed it."
I laughed when I read this bit - the land was up on the mountain side, well hidden from view of the town, adjoining my great great uncle's land. I visited the old site of the school last time I was in Loudoun. And the school - which was also used as a church is still standing - it was moved down off of the mountain and placed in town a number of years ago - and church services are still held there.
The receipt of these little glimpses into the mood of the town and the burning desire of folks to get their children an education brought tears to my eyes. We have to remember to not take public schools for granted - and to thank our ancestors for ensuring that we had this precious gift - to be able to read and write.