Halifax in Halifax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Mary M. Bethune High School
—Halifax County —
In 1872 the Banister Baptist Association built a private African-American training school in Halifax County. Originally the campus consisted of four wooden buildings and a dormitory. The school year was six months, and the grades went only as far as the ninth. Because of transportation difficulties in a county as large as Halifax, the school was primarily a boarding school. Board was $200 a year, which was prohibitive for most blacks at the time. In 1920 the school was rebuilt as the Halifax Training School to house African-America high school students. Later it was upgraded and renamed the Mary Bethune School. By 1950 it was the state's largest rural black high school. While there was no running water in labs, little money for equipment and supplies, and no transportation, a national magazine reported that 27 of the 64 seniors went on to college, far above the national average of 20 percent at that time.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
1. Mary M. Bethune High School CRIEHT Marker
In 1956, in order to meet "separate but equal" standards and stave off integration in the face of court decisions, the county erected the present building, officially named the Mary M. Bethune High School of Halifax County. Despite the county's efforts, the school was the hub of the local integration movement in 1969. After integration in 1970, Mary M. Bethune became a junior high school. All county high school students
- black and white- attended Halifax Senior High School. The original Mary M. Bethune High School building has subsequently been renovated. It still provides services for the community under the new guise of the Mary M. Bethune Government Office Complex, School System and Child Care Center.
May 18, 2010
2. Left Panel
Erected 2004 by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 33.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 36° 46.086′ N, 78° 55.389′ W. Marker is in Halifax, Virginia, in Halifax County. Marker can be reached from Cowford Road (Virginia Route 651) near Mary Bethune Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Halifax VA 24558, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Halifax Court House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Halifax County War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Halifax County Confederate Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); History of Halifax (approx. 0.4 miles away); Green's Folly (approx. 1.8 miles away); Minister Who Married Lincoln
(approx. 1.8 miles away); Washington-Coleman Elementary School (approx. 4 miles away); Nathaniel Terry's Grave (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Halifax.
May 18, 2010
3. W.C. Edwards
More about this marker. On the left are three photos with the captions:
"(Top) Class inside the Mary M. Bethune High School in the late 1950’s."
"(Above) Halifax Training School."
"(Left) Mary M. Bethune, c. 1910."
On the right is a photo with the caption,"(Above Right) W.C. Edwards served as principal of both Halifax Training Center and Mary Bethune High School from 1934 to 1966."
Classroom photo by Lazaru Bates and courtesy of South Boston Historical Museum. Photo of Mary M. Bethune courtesy of Florida State Archive. Photo of Halifax Training School courtesy of Virginia State University Archives.
Also see . . .
1. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Mary M. Bethune High School. Historic Places - Halifax County, Virginia (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Bethune Heritage Marker Unveiled
. News & Record Online (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
4. Mary M. Bethune Government Office Complex
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Education •
5. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil
11. Virginia State University
12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute
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
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,456 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.