“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Ettrick in Chesterfield County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Virginia State University

Ettrick, Virginia


— Chesterfield County —

Virginia State University CRIEHT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2009
1. Virginia State University CRIEHT Marker
Inscription.  Virginia State University was chartered by the Virginia legislature in 1882 as the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. Delegate Alfred W. Harris, an African-American attorney in Petersburg, championed the charter and supported it through the ensuing lawsuits attempting to stop its existence. Virginia State University was the first state supported school for African Americans in the United States authorized to grant a college degree, and also have an African-American board of visitors and an all African-American faculty by charter. A year and a half later, the school was built and opened. In 1902 the college program was abolished and the name was changed to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. The college courses were later restored in 1922. In 1930 the college was renamed The Virginia State College for Negroes, and in 1946, Virginia State University. Its first president, John Mercer Langston, went on in 1888 to be the only black elected to the United States Congress from Virginia (a record held until 1992). In its first year, Virginia State had 126 students and seven faculty, all black. One hundred years later, in 1982, there
Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map image. Click for full size.
2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map
Appomattox County
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia

Buckingham County
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace

Cumberland County
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis

Amelia County
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil

Chesterfield County
11. Virginia State University

12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School

Dinwiddie County
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County

Nottoway County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute

Lunenburg County
21. The People's Community Center
22. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Christian Day School

Prince Edward County
23. Prince Edward County Public Schools
24. R. R. Moton High School
25. Farmville Female Seminary Association
26. First Baptist Church
27. Beulah AME Church
28. Hampden-Sydney College

Charlotte County
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School

Halifax County
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church

Mecklenburg County
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute

Brunswick County
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
was a fully integrated student body of nearly 5,000 and a full-time faculty, also integrated, of 250. The one original building had grown to more than 50.

(Above) The graduating class of 1886 with three faculty members. Seated from left to right: President John M. Langston, Robert Green (student), Mrs. Ida R Harris (faculty) and Professor James Colson, Jr. Students standing left to right: James Shields, Lucretia Campbell, Susie Douglas, Fannie Walker, Carrie Bragg, Willie Davis, and Jerry Lucas.

(Left) Old Virginia Hall, the original building on the VSU campus. It contained classrooms, a library, student dormitories, a cafeteria, administrative offices, faculty housing, an infirmary, and an auditorium. It was torn down in the 1930s and replaced by the new Virginia Hall which has much smaller dimensions.

(Above Right) John Mercer Langston was the first president of what is now Virginia State University. He was the third head of the institution, following two principals, James Storum and James M. Colson, Jr.. Langston was the first with the title of president. He served from January 1, 1886 to December 1887.

All photos courtesy of Virginia State University Archives
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 11.)
College Drive image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2009
3. College Drive

Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsEducation. In addition, it is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities 🎓 series lists.
Location. 37° 14.571′ N, 77° 25.28′ W. Marker is in Ettrick, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Matthews Jefferson Drive and East River Road, on the right when traveling south on Matthews Jefferson Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Virginia State University VA 23806, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Virginia State University (within shouting distance of this marker); Amaza Lee Meredith (1895-1984) (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ettrick Veterans Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Restoration of Vawter Hall (approx. half a mile away); Restoration of Storum Hall (approx. 0.6 miles away); Colonial Heights War Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); Ettrick (approx. 0.7 miles away); Mr. Frederick Francoz Simms (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ettrick.
Also see . . .
1. Virginia State University. (Submitted on December 29, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
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2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 29, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,128 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on December 29, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.   2. submitted on December 30, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.   3. submitted on December 29, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.
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Jan. 21, 2021