The Chesterfield Historical Society of VA

African American History Committee

The only group in Chesterfield County devoted to researching African-American history. 

Your generous tax deductible donation will help fund the ongoing work of this committee and will be greatly appreciated.

Pleasant View School

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Pleasant View School is an early twentieth century African-American schoolhouse. It succeeds an earlier school house circa 1900. In 1924, the Chesterfield County School Board purchased two acres of land that included a house previously used as a public school site upon which to construct a new school for Blacks. Pleasant View School was built with the financial support of the Black community and opened in 1930 and closed in 1947. The Pleasant View Community Association maintained the building and used it as a community center from 1947 until 1998.  In response to community concerns about the sale, the County Board of Supervisors re-purchased the property shortly after. Now owned by the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the school features desks, blackboards, church pews, a piano, and other items from the past.  

African American Schools In Chesterfield County

During the committee’s Four Score and More interviewing of our senior residents, we were dismayed and saddened to learn about the non-existence history of African-American schools in Chesterfield County. In addition, there is also evidence of undocumented schools. Therefore, further research is imperative to identify these undocumented school sites with markers.  With that noteworthy discovery, the committee agreed to pursue this challenge head-on.  Thus, the beginning of our work to research the undocumented early African-American schools in Chesterfield County.

This collection contains images and information from the African-American Schools in Chesterfield County During the Segregated Era Exhibit presented by the African-American History Committee of the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia.The schools represented in the Exhibit operated in an era when the official doctrine of “Separate, But Equal” education was implemented as “Separate, and Unequal.” In presenting this Exhibit, the African-American History Committee acknowledges and honors the parents, teachers, administrators and staff who supported these schools for 100 years. The Exhibit was presented in the Chesterfield County Museum, and was originally planned to run from February 2014 through July 2014. However, the exhibit was extended into 2016 because of its popularity, and because of the very positive public response.

This exhibit can be viewed in person at the Chesterfield Historical Society Public Library located in Historic Trinity Church, 10111 Iron Bridge Rd in the conference room. Mon-Fri 10AM-4PM.

Rosenwald Schools in Chesterfield County, Virginia: An Effort to Improve Facilities for African Americans in the Early Twentieth Century

By. Bernard Anderson

IN THE PRESS

Remembering Mimms: From slavery to the Board of Supervisors: The legacy of Cornelius Mimms

Rosenwald Schools: Educational Events Explore Segregation

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African American History Committee Highlights

 

 

2016, February 6 - Opened an exhibit at the County Museum, Cornelius Mimms: A Legend and Legacy.”

 

2016, February 5 - Winter Lecture Series presentation, “The Many Faces of Elizabeth Van
Lew” by Sandra Parker

 

2015 - Ongoing project collaborating with John Tyler Community College to interview African American residents of Chesterfield County over 80 years old who attended segregated schools (including Rosenwald Schools) in Chesterfield County.

 

2015, November - Successfully finalized an initiative to recognize Dr. Lester W. Brown, Jr. a Midlothian resident; among the first to integrate and graduate from Midlothian High School; the only Vietnam War Distinguished Service Cross recipient from Chesterfield County and a practicing physician until his passing in 2002. Dr. Brown’s life was commemorated by a tree planting and a plaque being placed on the grounds of Bon Secours St. Francis Watkins Centre on November 10th 2015.

 

2015, December - Digitized the exhibit on Segregated Schools in Chesterfield County and now is available on the Central Library’s website.

 

2015, March – Presentation at Lifelong Learning Institute by Mrs. Charlotte Wood, “My Story” where she shared her story from 1946-1995 as a student and educator in Chesterfield County during the segregated era.

 


2015, February - Presentation to Seniors at Thomas Dale High School on African Americans in Chesterfield County During the Segregated Era.Schools

 

2015, February - Winter Lecture Series presentation titled, “African-Americans in Chesterfield County 1860 to 1900: Slavery, Citizenship and Community Development” by Bernard Anderson.

 

2015, January - Served as a resource to Chesterfield Community High School for primary
source interviewees, assistance with interviewing techniques, providing artifacts and lectures for their Curating Carver project. A project that explores the world of segregated education through the lens of the physical plant of the former Carver High School.

 

2014, April 1-30 -Chesterfield County’s Meadowdale Library featured CHSV African-American History Committee’s exhibit, (formerly shown at the County Museum in 2010): Early African-American Churches of Chesterfield County: Weaving History, from April 1-30, 2014. 

 

2014, February 28 “African-American Schools in Chesterfield County during the Segregated Era” extended through July 31, 2014.

 

2014, February 1- The official opening of the “African-American Schools in Chesterfield County during the Segregated Era” exhibit at the County Museum. 

 

2013, October- AAAHC established collaboration with John Tyler Community College to connect college students with African-American elders in the community who offered to help them better understand the segregation era in the United States, particularly with respect to education. Eight history students prepared and interviewed eleven former students during November.

 

2012, February 1- Chesterfield Historical Society Opens Black History Month Exhibit Featuring 25 Oral Histories of African American Elders entitled, Four Score and More Pt .II  

 

2011, February 1- Chesterfield Historical Society Opens Black History Month Exhibit Featuring Oral Histories of African American Elders entitled, “Four Score and More” at the Chesterfield County Museum, 6813 Mimms Loop in the Chesterfield government complex. Developed by the African-American History Committee of CHSV, this oral history project began in 2005 with the first interviews of African American Chesterfield County residents aged 80 and older.  Their words speak fervently to us as they describe the life experiences of African Americans who were born or lived in Chesterfield County from the first 30 years of the 20th century through the first decade of the 21st century. The exhibit reflects many common themes of young people growing up in a mostly rural and segregated environment. The stories include their early education, their families and community life, their military service and their chosen fields of work. This is the first public exhibit of some of the interviews the committee has recorded to date.  Artifacts depicting the era and culture of these African-American elders will also be included.

 

2010, June- Presentation to CHSV reference library, a compilation of seventeen (17) early church histories. This is part of an ongoing project to collect and archive the detailed church histories that form a valuable resource on African-American Churches founded between 1846 and the early 1900’s.

 

2010, February- Black History Month Programs: Exhibits, Lecture, and Community Event “Early African-American Churches in Chesterfield County: Weaving History.” The exhibit opened on Feb. 6 closed April 17 at the Chesterfield County Museum, 6813 Mimms Loop.

 

2009, February- Black History Month Program: Carver High School exhibit at the County Museum.

 

2008- Four Score and More Project: Identifying African-Americans 80 years old and over to capture memories of their early education and the struggles/challenges experienced.

 

2001, February 28- Lunchtime Lecture Series: “Old Jeb: A Slave Speaks on Old Chesterfield” A presentation by our society’s important new committee depicting the role of African Americans here in Chesterfield County done in “first person” with insight and research on the “peculiar institution” in Chesterfield County before the Civil War.

 

2000, September- African American Historical Committee

 

1999, July- CHSV’s Board Meeting: proposed a new committee, the African American Historical Research Committee. A motion was moved and carried to create this committee.

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Contact

(804) 796-7121

Address

P.O. Box 40

10111 Iron Bridge Rd, Chesterfield, VA 23832, USA

©2017 BY CHESTERFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA.