Data as of 2/13/2016
Transporting so-called “colored” children was a real problem, with white children initially given first priority over African-Americans for tax-payer paid wagons and buses. This policy, which was racially based, was made all the more difficult because of the paucity of funds for any public education.
The consolidation of the one-room school houses brought its own problems for African-Americans. The scholastic advantage was that teachers not longer had to instruct all grades at one time in one room, which was clearly better for the children from the point of view of academics. At the same time, this meant that many children who previously could walk to school, no longer had that option. Related was the problem of moving children from various communities to the Loudoun County Training Center, a non-accredited High School. The African-American community didn’t have an accredited high school in Loudoun until they, with allies, pressured the LCPS to create Douglass.
To resolve the problem, one of the approaches used was the petition, one of the oldest tools in American politics. Often they were undated; but they were also nearly always eloquent, passionate appeals for justice.
(a) The attached undated petition from patrons and parents asked for a bus for the transportation of “colored pupils” from Willsville, St. Louis, Middleburg, Bull Run and Gleedsville to the Loudoun County Training School. Lists of eligible children were also provided. In actuality, to achieve their goal, more than on bus would have been needed.Petition for a Bus.
(b) The following memo is not a petition; instead a document dated January 3, 1940 and titled “Survey of Loudoun County White Schools to indicate the completed reorganization or consolidation.” Although a few sentences are missing, since the document was itself a partial carbon copy, it is a very interesting history of the consolidation of one-room school houses and some observations would have been true for African-Americans, as much as whites. Probably a report by Oscar Emerick, the Superintendent, the paper does make a passing remark about the “colored” and an observation on available funds, which may hint at prioritizations.
A paragraph on the last page noting that Literary Fund loans will need to be paid off, starting in the 1940/41 academic year; in other words, disposable income will be reduced by $2,804, about $47,000 in 2016 currency. At the end of the same paragraph, Emerick points out “It must also be borne in mind that the claims of the colored people for better high school facilities and transportation of high school pupils from the Willisville-Middleburg areas are very pressing.” Unfortunately, the author didn’t propose in this paper at least how he intended to address the pressing claims.
In another paragraph, that there will be a substantial increase in the State school appropriation for 1940/41, mainly for teachers; but the author didn’t felt that the full increase be applied to salaries since some was needed by transportation. The truth is that both transportation and salaries for African-Americans lagged behind that of whites. 1940 Consolidation Survey Location: LCPS Archives, Transportation Folder.
(c) — We have also found an undated document showing the list of children to be transported from the “colored” community of Howardsville to Willisville. Three African-American families settled the hamlet of Howardsville in the 1870s, including the Reid family which was represented on the document. Location: LCPS Archives, Transportation Folder. Howardsville to Willisville Transport. For research on Howardsville, see also Loudoun County African-American Historic Architectural Resources Survey, created by History Matters, September 2004, and sponsored by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors & The Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library Leesburg, VA. In addition, consider, HOWARDSVILLE: The Journey of an African-American Community in Loudoun County, Virginia by Kevin Grigsby, self published September 2, 2013.