The stars shine brighter in Halifax County, VA

Mizpah Presbyterian Church

Mizpah Presbyterian Church

churches in the second half of the 19th century and early part of the 20th
century helped fill African Americans’ need for schooling. Frequently, a church
would raise funds to build a school, with county governments occasionally
offering some financial assistance. Parents donated much of the building labor
and materials, and were also largely responsible for land and building
maintenance once the school was built. The Mizpah Presbyterian Church, founded
in 1890, is an example of such a collaboration.

1901 the Mizpah School was constructed on the land where the church still
stands. The school served local Black children in grades 1–7. The school’s
teachers were poorly paid, often living with students’ parents and moving from
one family to another. For their board, they were
expected to keep up the maintenance of the school building by sweeping,
applying oil to the floors to keep the dust down, shoveling coal or putting
wood in the stove, and simultaneously supervising the children. The teachers
were, however, highly respected in the South Boston community and looked to for

the school was connected with the church, students of the Mizpah School not
only studied the “three R’s” but also memorized Bible verses and sang hymns and
other songs. Many families relied on their children to work the fields with
them, though, so the school year was seldom
more than four or five months long, and absenteeism was high.

1935, the Mizpah School was converted to a community day care facility, one of
the first at that time in southern Virginia.



Contact Information

308 Ragland Street, South Boston, VA 24592