— Dinwiddie County —
Prior to the Civil War,
Dinwiddie County was home to several private academies for those who could afford to pay for their education. While it was mostly affluent males who were educated, Pegram's Academy, Female Academy, Girard Heartwell School for Girls, Oak Forest female School and Col. William Davis' Girls School were among those that catered to young women. In these schools, young ladies were prepared socially and culturally to enter the world. Meanwhile, education for African-Americans and the poor were delayed until after the Civil War.
It was not until 1870 that public education for blacks and whites was introduced into Dinwiddie County. By 1833, 25 schools out of the school system's 53 one- and two-room schools were for African-Americans. The number of black elementary schools totaled as many as 40 by the late 1920s. As transportation became available, the schools began consolidating.
In 1899 the John A. Dix Industrial School was established one mile east of this site as the first and only private school for African Americans. Several years later, the Dinwiddie Agricultural and Industrial School was added. In 1908, after being purchased, the school was conveyed to the Board of Education of the African Methodist Zion Church. Shortly afterward, the school once again changed its name and became the Dinwiddie Normal and Industrial Institute. From 1915 to 1949, under the leadership of Professor W.E. Woodyard, the Institute transformed into a day school. By the early 1930s, it began receiving financial assistance from Dinwiddie County, and by 1938, it became the county's all-black high school. In 1954 the Southside High School, currently Dinwiddie Middle School on U.S. Route 1, was constructed as the new African-American high school for the county and remained as such until 1969 when the schools integrated.
Photo taken by Jackson Davis, state agent for African-American rural schools for the Virginia Sate Department of Education from 1910-1915. He took this photo to show the good road condition through Dinwiddie Court House to Dinwiddie High School. The school can be seen in the background on the right.
This Jackson Davis photo was taken during Patron's Day exercises at a one-room school for African-Americans c. 1910s.
Professor W.E. Woodyard was the principal of the Dinwiddie Noraml and Industrial Institute from 1915 to 1949.
Photos of court house road and one-room school courtesy of The Jackson Davis Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library. Photo of W.E. Woodyard courtesy of Catherine Simmons.