Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Leisa Meyer

Committee Member

James Whittenburg

Committee Member

Robert T Vinson


The Virginia State Constitution of 1869 mandated that public school education be open to both black and white students on a segregated basis. In the city of Richmond, Virginia the public school system indeed offered separate school houses for blacks and whites, but public schools for blacks were conducted in small, overcrowded, poorly equipped and unclean facilities. at the beginning of the twentieth century, public schools for black students in the city of Richmond did not change and would not for many decades. Before 1918, there was no public high school for black students to attend. Whites made it clear in their words and in their actions that they felt that blacks were inferior to whites and that money should not be wasted on the education of black children. Annual reports from the Superintendent of Public Schools for the city of Richmond, Virginia and newspaper articles from both black and whites press evidence that whites were strongly opposed to providing an education to black students that was equal to that of whites. as early as 1866, private schools for blacks became a part of Richmond’s educational landscape to provide primary and secondary education to blacks who were denied quality education by the public school system. This thesis concludes that if private schools for blacks were not an option in the city of Richmond in the first half of the twentieth century, some black students would have not received an education beyond the primary level.




© The Author

Included in

History Commons