Chesterfield County features segregated schools exhibit - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chesterfield County features segregated schools exhibit

Pleasant View Elementary, a historically black school preserved just as it was, is now one of many schools being used as a teaching tool.

The school is featured in a special exhibit at the Chesterfield County Museum featuring African-American schools in the county during a segregated era.

Hundreds of African American students went to Pleasant View over the course of several years. Walking inside the building is like a step back several decades.

"This is me," said Rev. Herbert Townes, pointing to a picture of himself. "This is my fifth grade class. I do remember all of my classmates."

"In this particular picture I have my sister…" said Sarah Gregory, another one-time student of segregated schools.

The exhibit shows all the African American schools in Chesterfield County, but the best history lesson comes from those who lived that history. 

"All of my education was segregated," said Townes. "We got hand-me-down books from the white schools. We got books that were used. It was a great treat to get a new book at the beginning of the school year."

"We traveled two hours on the bus," said Gregory. "Which the nearest school is only five miles away."
Teachers at black schools made roughly half of what teachers at white schools made. To this day, their pupils remember their names, an their commitment to helping young African American children succeed in a world that was in many ways still separate, and hardly accessible. 
"We were taught that we had to be the best that we could be," said Townes. "Not only the best, but we had to be better than the white children if we wanted to excel in the world. "
The exhibit on segregated schools is open at the Chesterfield County Museum for several more weeks, until May 31.

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