Timeline of Events in African-American Education

Click on the arrows on the left and right to move along the timeline.

  • 1830

    The Virginia General Assembly forbids the teaching of African Americans—slave or free—to read or write.


    Virginia Law declares that "…white and colored persons shall not be taught in the same school but in separate schools…"


    Virginian schools employ one "Negro teacher" for every 232 school-aged African-American children.

    Photo: Pre-Rosenwald School, Woodville. VA. (n.d.) (Courtesy of the Fisk University Rosenwald Fund Card File Database, negative 0685)

  • 1876

    Scrabble School founder Isaiah Wallace is born to former slaves Charles and Annie Wallace.


    African-American landowners Wood and Albert Grant purchase 90 acres in Woodville—the future site of Scrabble School.


    U.S. Supreme Court endorses the doctrine of "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson.


    Rappahannock County enrolls 636 African-American students.


    Philanthropist Anna T. Jeanes sets the stage for Rosenwald’s efforts by donating over a million dollars to support southern African-American schools.Photo: Southern Education Fund

  • 1913

    Booker T. Washington convinces Sears Roebuck magnate Julius Rosenwald to fund the construction of six schools in Alabama.Photo: University of Chicago Library.


    Rosenwald establishes a rural school building program throughout the South for African-American children.


    Virginian schools employ one "Negro teacher" for every 80 school-aged African-American children.


    The Julius Rosenwald Fund is established. Professional architects are contracted to design innovative schools for communities.

  • 1919

    On average, each white teacher in Virginia is responsible for 33 white pupils, while each African-American teacher has 48 African-American pupils.


    Isaiah Wallace begins to raise money to build a Rosenwald School—the future Scrabble School.


    The Rosenwald Office develops a program of detailed plans and specifications for schools; these become a guidebook for the construction of thousands of schools across the country.Drawn by S.L. Smith, published in "Community School Plans," 1924

  • 1921

    Wood Grant donates two acres for the Scrabble School.


    The Scrabble School is built, the first Rosenwald School in Rappahannock County.Photo: Fisk University Rosenwald Fund Database


    Rappahannock County communities in Washington, Flint Hill, and Amissville build Rosenwald Schools.


    1 in 5 schools for African Americans in the South is a Rosenwald School.

  • 1932

    Julius Rosenwald dies at age 69. The Rosenwald Schools Program ends after sponsoring 4,977 schools, 217 teacher homes, and 163 shop buildings in 15 states.


    George Washington Carver High School. Photo: Leon Reed, Flickr
    Isaiah Wallace dies at age 69. Twenty-two miles from Scrabble, George Washington Carver High School opens as the closest high school for African Americans.


    In Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court overturns Plessy v. Ferguson to integrate the schools.
    Photo: Cass Gilbert /Bettman /Corbis, copyright 2002-2006, National Education Association

  • 1954-67

    Scrabble School remains open as a segregated school.


    Virginia passes a series of "Massive Resistance" laws to avoid school integration. Over the next decade, tens of thousands of African-American students are denied public education as schools in several cities are closed.Photo: Richmond Times-Dispatch


    The School Board adds toilets to Scrabble School.


    White students join African-American children at Scrabble School for the 1967-68 school year.

  • 1968

    Rappahannock County builds a new, integrated school, and closes Scrabble School. The building gradually falls into disrepair; the grounds are used as landfill.Photo: Department Historic Resources National Register Nomination Form


    E. Franklin Warner rallies community support and founds the "Save Our School" grass-roots initiative.Photo: Robert Bowser Photography


    Warner holds the first meeting of the Scrabble School Preservation Foundation.

  • 2007

    The National Park Service and Virginia add Scrabble to National and State Historic Registers.


    The renovation and preservation of the Scrabble School building begins.Photo: Scot French


    Scrabble School reopens as the Rappahannock Senior Center at Scrabble School and Heritage Center.Photo: Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

  • 2010

    Installation of exhibit on the history of Scrabble School


    Educational materials created for elementary students. Rappahannock County Schools to incorporate into official curriculum.


    Planned—Interactive exhibit for children