South Boston in Halifax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
South Boston, Virginia
—Halifax County —
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
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 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 Century • African Americans • Churches & Religion • Education •
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 848 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 20, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.