“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Amigo in Raleigh County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)

Byrd Prillerman High School

— Coal Heritage Trail —

Byrd Prillerman High School Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, July 15, 2019
1. Byrd Prillerman High School Marker
Byrd Prillerman High School was established here in 1927 for the Afro American students in this coal mining area. Named in honor of a former slave who was an eminent state educator and President of West Virginia State College. The two story frame building, first used as a white elementary school, was remodeled and added onto. The Byrd Prillerman school became a stone and brick building that had 14 rooms and an Gymnasium for the students in the first to twelfth grades. The first graduating class in 1931 had four members. The building was destroyed by fire on Jan 12, 1962. The 204 students and 10 teachers were transfered to the other integrated schools including Mark Twain, Sophia and Stoco High Schools, all consolidated into Independence High School later. The nearby football practice field full of tree stumps, provided an ideal setting as the players said they learned how to dodge the stumps. This continued in the games and lead to several state championships. From 786 graduates during its 31 years of existence, many followed in the footsteps of Byrd Prillerman.
Erected 2001 by Parthenia Ruth
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Fountain Edmonds, Valedictorian, Class of 1935 and a 1939 graduate of West Virginia State College. Erected on June 3, 2001.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEducation. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 12, 1962.
Location. 37° 36.178′ N, 81° 19.278′ W. Marker is near Amigo, West Virginia, in Raleigh County. Marker is on Tams Highway (West Virginia Route 16) half a mile north of Amigo-Egeria Road (County Route 35), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6306 Tams Hwy, Amigo WV 25811, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Raleigh County / Wyoming County (approx. 0.4 miles away); Helen, WV (approx. 2.3 miles away); Miners Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away); Helen Coal Miners Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away); a different marker also named Helen (approx. 2.3 miles away); Baseball (approx. 2.3 miles away); Camp Lightfoot (approx. 2.3 miles away); Mullens (approx. 3˝ miles away).
Regarding Byrd Prillerman High School. “The great need of the race was an institution for the training of teachers, and leaders. Mr. Prillerman saw this need and with
Byrd Prillerman High School Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, July 15, 2019
2. Byrd Prillerman High School Marker
characteristic directness made his plans. During the Christmas holidays of 1890, he called on Governor Fleming, and State Superintendent, B. S. Morgan, and laid the matter before them. The Governor and State Superintendent Morgan directed him how to proceed. He then associated himself with Rev. C. H. Payne, D.D., and together they secured proper legislative action creating the West Virginia Colored Institute. This was in 1891, and the following year the institution opened its doors to students and Prof. Prillerman was put at the head of the department of English. He taught in that capacity from 1892 to 1909, under the administration of three Principals. On the death of President J. McHenry Jones, September 22, 1909, Prof. Prillerman was elected acting president September 23, and later confirmed as president. The man and the opportunity were fairly met. He was in the prime of maturity and the institution was still in the formative period. Under his presidency the curriculum was thoroughly revised, and, in 1915, the school raised to college rank, and the name changed to West Virginia Collegiate Institute by an act of the legislature. It was the first State school for Negroes to reach the rank of an accredited college whose work is accepted by the universities of the North. The first college class was graduated in 1919. Under his administration the enrollment crossed the four hundred
Byrd Prillerman High School image. Click for full size.
undated photograph via Flickr
3. Byrd Prillerman High School
mark. The plant and grounds were enlarged and improved. A dining hall, a dormitory for girls, cement walks about the grounds, a central heating plant, the Library and the Lakin Athletic Field were all added while he was at the head of the institution. During the war the Institute was recognized as a College for the training of soldiers by the U. S. Government.”
Additional commentary.
1. Marker is in the wrong place
The historical marker for this High School is currently located in the wrong place. Byrd Prillerman High school was a good ten thousand or more feet from where the marker is located. It was apparently removed by someone who does not care about the history of this school. I am one of the youngest living alumni of this school.
    — Submitted January 19, 2020, by Perry Lee Radford of Rhodell, West Virginia.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,148 times since then and 128 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 22, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Apr. 25, 2024