The Wytheville Training school was a small institution in the town of Wytheville established for the sake of educating African American children living in the town or nearby area, it was originally founded by the Freedmen’s Bureau in 1867, however the building the stands today, which became known as the “Wytheville Training School”, was built in 1883. Despite being a school, it was more than simply a place for African American children to be educated. Due to the church constructed nearby, it was something of a cultural center for African American people of the area. They would meet there for funerals, weddings, and social gatherings. Eventually, African American children from many nearby counties also attended the school.
While often small and overcrowded, the school gave many African Americans an education they otherwise would have never had. In time, due to the ever increasing African American population, the overcrowding became to great, and the school was shutdown. In its place, Scott Memorial school had been built, and the students then began attending classes there. (1)
In this video, you can actually see the students of the school leaving at around the 4 minute and 38 second mark. The sheer number of them coming from such a small building clearly shows the overcrowding of the school. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/hleewaters_rl10075umatic0027010/
The school’s history was rather fraught with difficulties, since its beginning in the efforts of the Freedmen’s Bureau to establish a school in the area as early as 1867 to when it finally closed in 1952. However, the tenacity and vigor for learning of the local African Americans persisted, and many children proudly earned their education at the school, many graduating highschool through it. Today, it stands as a reminder of times past, and of those who ventured to learn in a society that was not exactly welcoming to them. You can learn more about the school by visiting this website http://www.wythevilletrainingschool.org/timeline.htm , and by visiting the museum itself in Wytheville.
This is a picture of the school as it is today.
(1) Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Wytheville Training School,”African American Historic Sites Database, accessed July 16, 2016,http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/490.
P.S. As a fair warning to those who may actually decide to visit, google maps seems to have the tendency to not want to decide quite where the school actaully is. e.g. on the website I cited google maps says its on Tazewelll Street. It is most definitely not on Tazewell street! Google is getting it confused with another old school (which has no relation to the training school). The school is actually located at 410 East Franklin Street.