Ettrick in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Virginia State University
—Chesterﬁeld County —
Inscription. Virginia State University was chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1882 as the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. Delegate Alfred W. Harris, an African-American attorney in Petersburg, championed the charter and supported it through the ensuing lawsuits attempting to stop its existence. Virginia State University was the first state supported school for African Americans in the United States authorized to grant a college degree, and also have an African-American board of visitors and an all African-American faculty by charter. A year and a half later, the school was built and opened. In 1902 the college program was abolished and the name was changed to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. The college courses were later restored in 1922. In 1930 the college was renamed The Virginia State College for Negroes, and in 1946, Virginia State University. Its first president, John Mercer Langston, went on in 1888 to be the only black elected to the United States Congress from Virginia (a record held until 1992). In its first year, Virginia State had 126 students and seven faculty, all black. One hundred years later, in 1982, there was a fully integrated student body of nearly 5,000 and a full-time faculty, also integrated, of 250. The one original building had grown to more than 50.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2009
1. Virginia State University CRIEHT Marker
The graduating class of 1886 with three faculty members. Seated from left to right: President John M. Langston, Robert Green (student), Mrs. Ida R Harris (faculty) and Professor James Colson, Jr. Students standing left to right: James Shields, Lucretia Campbell, Susie Douglas, Fannie Walker, Carrie Bragg, Willie Davis, and Jerry Lucas.
2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil
11. Virginia State University
12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute
21. The People's Community Center
22. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Christian Day School
Prince Edward County
23. Prince Edward County Public Schools
24. R. R. Moton High School
25. Farmville Female Seminary Association
26. First Baptist Church
27. Beulah AME Church
28. Hampden-Sydney College
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
(Left) Old Virginia Hall, the original building on the VSU campus. It contained classrooms, a library, student dormitories, a cafeteria, administrative offices, faculty housing, an infirmary, and an auditorium. It was torn down in the 1930s and replaced by the new Virginia Hall which has much smaller dimensions.
(Above Right) John Mercer Langston was the first president of what is now Virginia State University. He was the third head of the institution, following two principals, James Storum and James M. Colson, Jr.. Langston was the first with the title of president. He served from January 1, 1886 to December 1887.
All photos courtesy of Virginia State University Archives
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 11.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 37° 14.571′
N, 77° 25.28′ W. Marker is in Ettrick, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Matthews Jefferson Drive and East River Road, on the right when traveling south on Matthews Jefferson Drive. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Virginia State University VA 23806, United States of America.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2009
3. College Drive
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Virginia State University (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonial Heights War Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); Ettrick (approx. 0.7 miles away); Campbell's Bridge (approx. 0.8 miles away); Appomattox River Heritage Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away); Lafayette At Petersburg (approx. 0.8 miles away); Lee's Headquarters (approx. 0.8 miles away); The First Methodist Meeting House (approx. 0.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ettrick.
Also see . . .
1. Virginia State University. (Submitted on December 29, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Education •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 915 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.