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Chase City in Mecklenburg County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Thyne Institute

Chase City, Virginia

— Mecklenburg County —

 
 
Thyne Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 27, 2021
1. Thyne Institute Marker
Inscription.  
Thyme Institute was established by the Rev. J.Y. Ashenhurst, the United Presbyterian Church, and a group of local citizens to provide an opportunity for African Americans (known as "freed men" in the late 1800s) to obtain an education. In 1876, 73 students were enrolled.

Dr. Ashenhurst began teaching from a tobacco warehouse when Mr. John Thyne donated five acres of land and built the first school building. The church, in return, named the school in his honor. In 1914, Thyne Institute gained high school accreditation by the Virginia Department of Education. Subjects such as Latin, calculus, Bible, and music, as well as practical skills, were taught.

Thyne Institute was so successful at delivering a quality education to African Americans that other schools throughout the South followed a similar pattern. Henderson Institute of North Carolina and Bluestone Harmony School of Virginia both followed Thyne's model.

The church expanded the school in 1893, when Thyne Institute started boarding students. Students from as far away as Ohio and New York attended. However, most of the boarding students came
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from the Norfolk/Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads areas of the state. Enrollment peaked in 1951-52 when the school had 650 students, a staff of 23 teachers, and a graduating class of 140. In total, over time, Thyne Institute enriched the lives of more than 5,000 students and their descendants in addition to setting the standard of quality in education for African Americans. The school was eventually turned over to the Mecklenburg County School Board. In the 1970s, the campus buildings were replaced by a new elementary school.

The accomplishments of Thyne Institute came with much sacrifice and dedication to purpose. The school suffered many setbacks, including fires, financial difficulties, and hostilities within the community between the white and Black populations. The Institute soared as an educational giant in an age when society did not recognize education as essential to quality of life, but instead saw it as a deterrent to hard work.

The Thyne Institute Memorial Circle of Friends, Inc. was formed in 1998 for the purpose of developing a memorial for the Thyne Institute and interpreting the education that took place at this site.

[Captions:]
Wilson Hall, Thyne's administration and classroom building named for Dr. Frank W. Wilson, principal for 36 years.

Dr. Frank W. Wilson served as principal of the Thyne Institute
Thyne Institute Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 27, 2021
2. Thyne Institute Memorial
from 1906 to 1942.

Thyne Institute diploma issued in 1900 to the wife of George Lancaster, Sr.

Vincent Hall served as the girls dormitory.

Hunter Hall served as the boys dormitory.

 
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. (Marker Number MK1.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionCivil RightsEducation. In addition, it is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1876.
 
Location. 36° 49′ N, 78° 28.347′ W. Marker is in Chase City, Virginia, in Mecklenburg County. Marker is on State Highway 47 just west of Village Road (State Route 874), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5134 Hwy 47, Chase City VA 23924, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Thyne Institute (approx. 0.2 miles away); Christiansville (approx. 1.3 miles away); Sgt. Earle D. Gregory (approx. 1.4 miles away); Lunenburg County / Mecklenburg County (approx. 4.1 miles away); Charlotte County / Mecklenburg County (approx. 5.3 miles away); Paul Carrington
Thyne Institute Memorial signage image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 27, 2021
3. Thyne Institute Memorial signage
(approx. 7.1 miles away); Roanoke Plantation (approx. 7.1 miles away); Staunton Bridge Action (approx. 7.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chase City.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
Thyne Institute Memorial plaque image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), August 27, 2021
4. Thyne Institute Memorial plaque
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 319 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 23, 2024