Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Peabody-Williams School
The high school was accredited as a four-year high school in 1921, and served for decades as the training ground for many distinguished African Americans, including hundreds of educators. In 1951, when the new high school to your right was constructed, it took the Peabody name, and the Peabody-Williams complex became the Henry Williams School, serving elementary and junior high school students. Later, the buildings were used as an annex for the high school, and the auditorium converted into a gymnasium.
Renewed interest led to its placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, and to the beginning of efforts to restore the building in 2002.
(Above) The Peabody-Williams School, c. 1920.
(Left) Rev. Henry Williams of the Gillfield Baptist Church. He and others petitioned in the 1870s to have African Americans appointed as administrators and teachers in the African American Schools in Petersburg. They met with success in 1882. The Williams Building was named after him. The Peabody Building was named after George Peabody, whose philanthropy made the Petersburg public schools, and in particular the Peabody School, possible.
Photos of the Peabody-Williams School courtesy of Dr. Germane Fauntleroy from a postcard courtesy of Virginia State University Archives. Photo of Henry Williams courtesy of Virginia State University Archives.
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 14.)
Marker series. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 37° 13.072′ N, 77° 24.696′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is on South Jones Street 0.1 miles south of Lee Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. North Carolina Confederate Hospital (approx. half a mile away); Bishop Payne Divinity School (approx. half a mile away); Lincoln In Petersburg (approx. half a mile away); Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia (approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort Henry (approx. 0.6 miles away); Peabody High School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Joseph Cotten (approx. 0.6 miles away); General Lee's Headquarters (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
Also see . . .
1. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. The Peabody Fund. The African American Registry (Submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Peabody Building of the Peabody-Williams School (PDF file). National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
4. Peabody High School National Alumni Association (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 1,035 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.