"I told the judge to do his duty and put me in prison at once, if he chose, for I would ask no favors at the hands of any man."
Margaret Douglass, a white woman from Charleston, South Carolina, moved to Norfolk with her daughter Rosa in 1845 and lived near here on the former Barraud Court. She was a vest maker by occupation. In June 1852 she and her daughter opened a school in the second story back room of her house to teach 25 free black children, both boys and girls, how to read and write.
Tuition was three dollars a quarter. After she was seen walking in the funeral procession of one of her deceased students, her school was raided, and she was arrested. She argued her own case in court, pointing out that the wives and daughters of several court officials taught black children weekly in Sunday School classes at Christ Church from the same books she used. After being found guilty, she served a month in jail. Later she moved to Philadelphia with her daughter and gained considerable notoriety based on her booklet about her experience in Norfolk that was published in 1854.