The Good Hope Colored School

The Good Hope Colored School (HM1EFF)

Location: Spotsylvania, VA 22553 Spotsylvania County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 11.718', W 77° 35.222'

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The Livingston district at Spotsylvania County had the largest number of one-room schools for African American children in the county before consolidation in the 1950s. As late as the mid 1990s, two of those schools were still standing, albeit vacant and in poor condition.

One of those schools, the Good Hope School for colored children, existed as early as 1920. It was necessary even then to renovate the building, and by 1929, a new structure was complete and equipped with a galvanized roof. The school opened in the fall of 1930 and its teacher was Lillian White at a salary of $40 per month.

Enrollment was sporadic in the school over several years, necessitating its closure by the Spotsylvania School Board. It was sold at auction for $280 on April 16, 1943.

The building languished for more than 40 years at its location at the intersection of Lewiston Road and Route 208 near Lake Anna. It was decided in 1996 to establish a committee to save the building by renovating it to demonstrate how a one-room school looked and operated in its time.

Once renovated, it would be relocated to this location, the Marshall Center, in the center of the County for all residents and tourists to visit. The Marshall Center is the site of the original high school for white children that was built in the 1940s. Its first principal wasCharles Melvin Snow who later became the Superintendent of Spotsylvania Public Schools. He was also instrumental in standardizing teacher salaries regardless of race in this county.

Before the remnants of the Good Hope School could be reconstructed, the building was destroyed by fire. There was, however, another vacant one-room school nearby. It was across the road from Branch Fork Baptist Church and in its day, it was named The Fork Colored School. That school was renovated, relocated and dedicated at the Marshall Center. Its architecture represents a combination of both original school buildings, and thus, the purpose of preserving and celebrating one-room school education for African American children is a reality for all.

Above: Good Hope Colored School, corner of Lewiston Road and Route 208
Below: Fork Colored School, on Stubbs Bridge Road across the road from Branch Fork Baptist Church
Both photographs were taken by Archie Richardson, then an employee of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the 1933-34 academic year. Photographs are courtesy of Virginia State University Archives.
Placed ByThe African American Heritage Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 12:24am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 273450 N 4230648
Decimal Degrees38.19530000, -77.58703333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 11.718', W 77° 35.222'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 11' 43.08" N, 77° 35' 13.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8800 Courthouse Rd, Spotsylvania VA 22553, US
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