In the years following Emancipation, Central Virginia’s African Americans worked tirelessly to secure schooling for themselves and their children. African Americans not only spoke out against educational inequality, they also petitioned and lobbied to improve their schools. They donated land for school buildings, paid teachers out of their own pockets, and, when times were especially tough, even brought them food.
Until well into the twentieth century, the education African Americans received was largely vocational. Their schooling took place in shabby, ill-equipped, crowded classrooms, at the hands of teachers who were devoted and inspiring, despite being poorly paid. The African Americans of Lynchburg and the rest of Central Virginia knew that their advancement depended on education, and they were determined to get it.