The African-American Schools of Louisa County
Former African-American Schools
in Louisa County, Virginia

"I promised the little boy one."

In 1923, G. W. Hayden urged state Supervisor of Negro Education W. D. Gresham to come look at the existing school at Shady Grove and consider whether the community could qualify for a Rosenwald grant to build a new school.  The photograph below came with a letter containing these words, " I am enclosing a picture of yourself and the little boy who brought the dinner the day I was up there.  I sent you one of these pictures and I promised the little boy one.  Please give this one to that little boy.  W. D. Gresham"

Shady Grove School

The following history was submitted by members of the Shady Grove Church, which presently owns the school.  A committee is actively working to restore this Rosenwald school and allow it to continue its tradition of serving the community in lower Louisa County.
The Shady Grove Historical School was born out of a need to provide a facility for the education of black students in the Jackson District.  In a letter to G. W. Hayden, W. D. Gresham who was the Supervisor of Negro Education in 1925 stated that it was one of the best one room schools in the state.Shady-Grove-1923
The educators who taught in the schools were profiles in excellence; teachers like Clossie Brown emphasize the importance of believing in ones self in a society where young black children were taught that they were second class citizens. Another powerful example of a profile in excellence was Nannie R. Ellis. She taught that there were three important links in the chain of a student’s development; the home, the school and the community. Mable Clark was the first teacher; and she left a legacy for others to follow.

We believe by restoring the Shady Grove Historical School we will reconnect to our own DNA of excellence. The 21st Century has new challenges in the field of education; therefore, we are borrowing from the past in order to grow in the present and to be challenge by the future.

The Shady Grove restoration committee also has all of the original letters and documents from 1923-1926 between G. W. Hayden and the State Superintendent's Office regarding obtaining Rosenwald funding and the oversite of the building of the school.  These rare papers make the Shady Grove School especially valuable to preserve.  Anyone interested in knowing more about the project and how to assist can contact the committee at 




Shady Grove School 

Shady Grove in 1925 and 82 years later as restoration begins.


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Funding for this project was provided by The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and
The Louisa County Historical Society