From the book of African Americans of Spotsylvania County

The first schools that emerged after it became legal for black students to get a formal education was specifically for grades 1-7. As pictured below, it was a one-room classroom that was uninsulated and it was only built through the children’s parents financially supporting the community through the churches. Every month, black parents would hold a meeting to raise money that went to teacher’s salaries and keeping up of the school. So for the most part, it couldn’t have been possible without them.

It wasn’t until the 1900’s that The Sunday School Union sowed the seeds for secondary education. They donated land to build the Spotsylvania Training School, and in 1952 when one-room schools were abolished, this is where John J. Wright Consolidated School for African American children was opened. Initially John J. Wright taught classes from 1-11 grade but eventually went all the way through with 12th-grade.

This was what an “all-black” class looked like.


Courtesy: Thelma Robinson Pryor Estate

Snell School burned down in 1941, later becoming John J. Wright.

Courtesy: 1958 John J. Wright Yearbook

John J. Wright the founder of what was once the Spotsylvania Training School.

Courtesy: Lee Broughton

Otelia Upshur (one of the first black teachers at Piney Branch School)

Courtesy: Alberta Robinson

Diggs School class which was located across the street from Mount Hope Baptist Church. (The class consisted of 9 boys and 12 girls)

Courtesy: Dorothy Smith Moore

Mayfield School (this school was for black students who were more fortunate)

Courtesy: Beatrice Byrd Lewis

Piney Branch School before it burned down.

Courtesy: Terry Miller

Ethel was the superintendent at John J. Wright.

Courtesy: Alfred C. Fairchild and family

css.php