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Near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Southside Virginia Training Center

Petersburg, Virginia

 

— Dinwiddie County —

 
Southside Virginia Training Center Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 21, 2021
1. Southside Virginia Training Center Marker
Inscription.  
In 1938 the Virginia General assembly chartered a residential care facility of African American males aged 8-21, with mental disabilities. The Petersburg State Colony for the Negro Insane, as it was named was located on the present site of Richard Bland College, about seven miles southwest of here. A female unit, housing 70 women, was added in 1941.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the terms "idiot," "imbecile," and "moron" were commonly used legal definitions for those with mental disabilities. Care for these individuals at the time was not directed at education, but at basic survival. There were no admission criteria, and young people and hardened criminals were placed together.

From 1943 to 1952, as attitudes changed and the idea of occupational education began to take hold, the Colony became a training school, similar to a boarding school. Criminals were discharged, the atmosphere changed, and the facility was renamed Evergreen because of its beautiful green setting.

In 1960, the institution moved to its current 66-acre site across from Central State Hospital, and its name was changed to
Southside Virginia Training Center Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, August 21, 2021
2. Southside Virginia Training Center Marker
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the Petersburg Training School. In 1967 the facility was integrated, and in 1971 the facility received an influx of clients with mental disabilities from the nearby hospital. This was the result of a legislative decision to separate persons with mental disabilities from the mentally ill. At this time the name was changed again to the Petersburg Training School and Hospital.

When the services and facilities were expanded in 1975, the facility was renamed the Southside Virginia Training Center for the Mentally Retarded. The training center is one of the fie regional centers in the state to provide health, habitation, and educational services for those eligible and stands as an example of the change in policy and attitude toward the education of persons with mental disabilities throughout the years.

[Captions:]
Built in 1904, the Female Psychopathic Building was occupied on all floors for dormitory purposes for female psychopathic patients. Clients with mental disabilities were kept at Central State Hospital along with the mentally ill before the 1971 legislative change to separate them.

This one-story Quonset building, with a cinder-block foundation, was used as a barber shop and beauty shop for patients.

The center's milk barn was a two-story frame building with an ordinary wood joist roof. The first floor contained
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44 metal cattle stanchions. The second floor was used to store feed. The building had no means of artificial heat but did have electricity for lighting.

The training shop and implement storage building was a two-story frame building with an ordinary wood joist roof covered with metal. The first floor, which was entirely open, had an earth floor and was used for the storage of farm implements. In the center of the building was a small enclosure containing a pipeless furnace, which heated the training shop on the second floor.

 
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. (Marker Number DN1.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsEducationScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1938.
 
Location. 37° 12.611′ N, 77° 27.216′ W. Marker is near Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. Marker is on Bedford Street, 0.2 miles north of 7th Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 94 Bedford St, Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edge Hill (approx. 0.3 miles away); Central State Hospital (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Fort Whitworth
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(approx. half a mile away); The Battle of Fort Whitworth (approx. half a mile away); Central State Hospital Cemetery (approx. 0.6 miles away); Siege of Petersburg—Grant's Eighth Offensive (approx. 0.8 miles away); Confederate Fort Gregg (approx. 0.9 miles away); Fort Gregg (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Old Marker At This Location titled "Petersburg State Colony for the Negro Insane".
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 138 times since then and 102 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 22, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Sep. 26, 2022