Berryville in Clarke County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Josephine School Community Museum & The African-American Experience
Much of Clarke County was literally built by enslaved Africans. The 1840 census revealed 55 percent of the County's population was "colored". Those men, women, and children, whose forebearers came as property came as property of the first European settlers, cleared the fields, planted and harvested the crops, and cleaned and cooked for their masters. Many were skilled craftsmen, and together with the unskilled slaves built most of the mills and manor houses we cherish today.
With the ending of the Civil War and emancipation, those "free" men and women set out to buy land, establish homesteads, and form communities to support their own schools, churches and businesses.
As time passed, however, many left Clarke County seeking educational opportunities and employment in Washington, Baltimore and elsewhere. The 2000 census listed only 7 percent of the Clarke County census as African American.
Today it is appropriate the history and legacy of the African-American experience in Clarke County is preserved at one of the earliest "colored" schools in the county, now known as The Josephine School Community Museum.
Emancipation document from Philip Nelson of Long Branch Plantation near Millwood freeing slaves Anthony & Susan. (CCHA archives)
Early photographs of African-Americans working as skilled construction workers are almost non-existent. This photo (courtesy of the Library of Congress) was taken in South Carolina in the late 1800s, and illustrates the contribution of skilled blacks all over the South.
The Josephine School Museum. Open Sundays 1:00-3:00 pm, or by appointment. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Johnston)
From here, go 1 block west and turn left on S. Church St. Go 1/2 mile to left on Josephine St. 1/3 mile and museum on right.
Josephine School Students c. 1911 (Photo courtesy of Rosette Clay)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Education • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 39° 9.032′ N, 77° 58.801′ W. Marker is in Berryville, Virginia, in Clarke County. Marker is on East Main Street (Virginia Route 7B) 0.1 miles west of Page Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 32 E Main St, Berryville VA 22611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stewardship & Conservation (here, next to this marker); Clarke County (here, next to this marker); Berryville (here, next to this marker); Historic Districts (here, next to this marker); King Wheat, Millwood & The Burwell-Morgan Mill (here, next to this marker); Benjamin Berry (within shouting distance of this marker); Bank of Clarke County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clarke County Courthouse (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berryville.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 11, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 33 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on October 11, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.