Norfolk, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
"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.
Erected by City of Norfolk.
Location. 36° 50.881′ N, 76° 17.467′ W. Marker is in Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Norfolk VA 23510, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monticello Hotel, 1898 (a few steps from this marker); Town Back Creek and Stone Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Tripoli Street (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Governor Tazewell (about 500 feet away); Granby Street (about 500 feet away); Old City Hall and Courthouse, 1850 (about 600 feet away); Four Farthing or Town Point (about 700 feet away); Norfolk College for Young Ladies (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Norfolk.
Also see . . . Margaret Douglass Taught Free Black Children in Norfolk to Read, 1852. Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia (Submitted on October 13, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 415 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.