“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
South Boston in Halifax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Mizpah Church

South Boston, Virginia


—Halifax County —

Mizpah Church CRIEHT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
1. Mizpah Church CRIEHT Marker
Inscription. Many churches in the second half of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century helped fill African Americans’ need for schooling. Frequently the church would raise funds to build the school, with county governments occasionally offering some limited financial assistance. Parents donated much of the building labor and materials. They were also largely responsible for land and building maintenance once the school was built.

The Mizpah Presbyterian Church, founded in 1890, is an example of such a collaboration. In 1901 the Mizpah School was constructed on the land where the church still stands. The school served local black children in grades one through seven. Teachers were poorly paid, often living with students’ parents and moving from one family to another. For their board they were expected to keep up the maintenance of the school building by sweeping, applying oil to the floors to keep the dust down, shoveling coal or putting wood in the stove, and simultaneously supervising the children. They were, however, highly respected in their community and looked to for leadership.

Because the school was connected with the church, students not only studied the “three r’s” but also memorized Bible verses and sang hymns and songs. Many families relied on their children to work the fields with
The Honorable William A. Kent (1914-1993) image. Click for full size.
2. The Honorable William A. Kent (1914-1993)
them, though, so the school year was seldom more than four or five months long, and absenteeism was high.

In 1935 the Mizpah School was converted to a community day care facility, one of the first at that time in Southside Virginia.

The Honorable William A. Kent (1914-1993) served for many years as church elder and clerk of the session.

Mr. Kent became the first African American elected to public office in South Boston when he joined the city council in 1969. His service on the city council included eight years as vice-mayor and four years as the first African American mayor. He retired in 1990 as mayor.

Mr. Kent was a mortician by profession and owner/operator of Kent’s Funeral Service in South Boston.

William A. Kent photo courtesy of Melvin C. Kent
Erected 2004 by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 35.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 36° 41.841′ N, 78° 54.276′ W. Marker is in South Boston, Virginia, in Halifax County. Marker is at the intersection of Ragland Street and Watkins Avenue, on the left when traveling east on Ragland Street
Ragland St & Watkins Ave image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
3. Ragland St & Watkins Ave
. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 308 Ragland Street, South Boston VA 24592, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. DAR Memorial Cannon (approx. 0.3 miles away); Campaign of 1781 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Retreat to the Dan (approx. 0.3 miles away); Crossing of the Dan Monument (approx. 0.3 miles away); Washington-Coleman Elementary School (approx. one mile away); Minister Who Married Lincoln (approx. 3.2 miles away); Green's Folly (approx. 3.2 miles away); History of Halifax (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Boston.
Also see . . .  Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on May 20, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
Categories. 20th CenturyAfrican AmericansChurches & ReligionEducation
Mizpah Church image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
4. Mizpah Church
Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map image. Click for full size.
5. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map
Appomattox County
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia

Buckingham County
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace

Cumberland County
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis

Amelia County
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil

Chesterfield County
11. Virginia State University

12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School

Dinwiddie County
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County

Nottoway County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute

Lunenburg County
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

Charlotte County
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School

Halifax County
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church

Mecklenburg County
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute

Brunswick County
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 20, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 867 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 20, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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