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Virginia Estelle Randolph - Glen Allen, VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member archway
N 37° 39.661 W 077° 28.902
18S E 281096 N 4171102
Quick Description: Virginia Randolph was a pioneer for the education of African American students in Henrico County in the early 1900's. She taught in the county for 57 years and is interred near the museum dedicated in her honor.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 2/14/2010 6:54:59 PM
Waymark Code: WM87K3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member rangerroad
Views: 7

Long Description:

Born in Richmond in 1874, Virginia Estelle Randolph grew up and was educated during the South's stormy Reconstruction period. The daughter of former slaves, she was a teacher by the time she was 16, and she became an internationally known authority on vocational education for black students.

Her first teaching job was in Goochland. Her second was at the one-room Mountain Road School in Henrico County in 1892.

Besides academics, Randolph taught her students such skills as gardening, woodworking and sewing. "There is no need for a mind if you can't use your hands," she said.

She once dismantled a neighbor's stove that was still warm and took it to school to teach a cooking class.

Her pioneering teaching methods at times brought opposition from parents who wanted their children to learn from books. Parents once circulated a petition to have her removed, but the county superintendent stood behind her.

In 1908, Randolph was appointed the first Jeanes Supervisor Industrial Teacher. In that capacity, she provided the first formal in-service teacher training anywhere for rural black teachers.

She was responsible for improving industrial skills, as well as education in general, in every one of the county's rural schools for blacks. With the freedom to design her own program, she shaped industrial work and community self-help programs to meet the needs of the specific schools.

The job had drawbacks. To reach the 23 schools she supervised, trips that took up to three hours one way on muddy country roads, Randolph had to hire a buggy and driver, an expense that consumed much of her salary. Later she bought her own horse.

She recorded the improvements made at each school under her program, which became known as "the Henrico Plan." Her report was reprinted and sent to county superintendents throughout the South. Randolph's teaching techniques and philosophy were later adopted in Britain's African colonies.

In 1915, the Virginia Randolph Training School was built next to Randolph's old school. It was Henrico's first step toward providing a high school for blacks. Students enrolled from throughout the county. But transportation was not provided, so Randolph often kept children in her Richmond home so they could attend. Over the years, 59 children boarded with her.

Randolph raised money to build a dormitory for girls and one for boys. Students came to her school from as far away as New York.

In 1929, fire destroyed the wooden Virginia Randolph Training School and the old one-room wooden schoolhouse next to it. For a week, the distraught Randolph was under a doctor's care. A bigger school, one made of brick, was built later that year and was named the Virginia Randolph High School. Today, several education programs are housed on the site, known as the Virginia Randolph Educational Center.

Randolph died March 16, 1958. Her accomplishments as an education pioneer are commemorated in a museum, founded in 1970 on the campus bearing her name. Her body was reinterred at the site in 1970.

In 1976, the museum was designated a National and Virginia Historic Landmark. In 1993, Virginia Estelle Randolph was inducted into the Virginia Women's Hall of Fame.

Source: Richmond-Times Dispatch, article by Robin Farmer published February 13, 2009 (republished from 1998).

Description:
First person in the United States to be named a Jeanes Supervising Industrial Teacher by the Jeanes Foundation. Inducted into the Virginia Women's Hall of Fame. Virginia Randolph Cottage listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Date of birth: 6/8/1874

Date of death: 3/16/1958

Area of notoriety: Education

Marker Type: Headstone

Setting: Outdoor

Fee required?: No

Web site: [Web Link]

Visiting Hours/Restrictions: Not listed

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