The stars shine brighter in Halifax County, VA

Washington-Coleman Elementary School

Washington-Coleman Elementary School

Determined to provide elementary education for young
African Americans, the Rev. Parham B. Ragland started a school in his backyard
sometime around 1875. Though the “Backyard School” was private, Rev. Ragland
was able to garner financial support for his project from the Town of South
Boston, thus representing the first known public support of Black education in
Halifax County. The one-room school grew and led to the establishment of a
public Black grammar school in Bloodfield (also called Mayfield). The school
was eventually named the M.H. Coleman Grammar School. Though it was damaged by
fire in 1937, it was repaired, reopened, and continued to operate until 1948,
at which time it was moved to the former Booker T. Washington High School

Booker T. Washington High School was built for Black
high school students who had been attending classes in unsatisfactory quarters
above a store at 1811 North Main Street in South Boston. By 1932 funds raised
by the Black community were joined with those from the South Boston School
Board to build a four-room school with a library, multipurpose rooms, and a
central office. Although the building was well equipped, it was a small school
and limited in curriculum. In 1948 Washington High merged with the Halifax
Training School (later known as Mary M. Bethune High School) to provide a
centralized Black high school with an expanded curriculum. In 1969 Halifax high
schools were integrated, and all Black and white high school students began
attending Centerville High School. The former all-Black high school was then
renamed Washington-Coleman Elementary School. Today, it still serves as an
active part of Halifax’s educational community.


Contact Information

1927 Jeffress Boulevard, South Boston, VA 24592