Salem School

4050 Salem School Road, Red Oak, VA
Follow Rt 15 through Charlotte County. About 6 miles north of Clarksville,
turn west on Rt 608, Salem School Road. Follow 608 to Salem Church.

 

 
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Contact:.....Ms. Veada Currin
.....................2310 Bacon School Road
......................Saxe, VA 23967
adac228@hotmail.com

 After the Civil War, many freed slaves in the Red Oak area of Charlotte County were welcomed to worship at Antioch Baptist Church, a traditionally white church. In 1865, the Antioch congregation helped raise money to build Salem Baptist Church for the freedmen. Around 1900, the trustees of Salem Baptist Church deeded 1/2 acre to build a schoolhouse.

Julius Rosenwald, an early partner in Sears, Roebuck, & Co., established a fund in 1917 to improve the "well-being of mankind," particularly the black race. 363 black schools in Virginia were constructed or improved with Rosenwald funding, seven in Charlotte County.

   Charlotte County is shown in yellow.
 

 In 1921, $4,500 was raised for a new Salem School. $1,000 from the black community, $2,600 from state and local boards of education, and $900 from the Rosenwald Foundation. The average value of black schools in Virginia at this time was $1,329, so the $4,500 for Salem School representated a substantial investment. The school consisted of 3 classrooms, a cafeteria with a fresh-water well, an entrance hall, and cloakroom. The privy in back was later replaced with two interior bathrooms. The two rear classrooms were divided by folding doors that were opened to provide a large meeting space for weekly devotional services, May Day celebrations, and graduation, as well as other community events.

Salem School was in operation until 1959, when the new consolidated Bacon District School was built. Alumnae of Salem School include the first black mayor of Danville, many teachers, bankers, ministers, nurses, lawyers, and other professionals.


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