• Note: Much of the history of the Richmond Public Schools was recorded in the context of a segregated society, and the reader should readily discern between pre- and post-desegregation observations. The terms "black," "colored," "Negro," and "white" in this booklet should not be considered offensive as they have been used according to the custom of the particular period. Since 1962, the division has omitted such racial designations from its reports and publications.

Bowser School (Rosa D.)

  • East Clay Street

    This school took its name from the remodeled historical building (the 1832 Adolph Dill House) which had formerly housed the Rosa Bowser Library.

    Rosa Dixon is listed in the first graduating class of the Richmond Colored Normal School (1872-73). As Richmond's first colored teacher, she taught at Navy Hill School until she married in 1878. She returned in 1884, and taught at Baker School for 39 years.

    Rosa D. Bowser is said to have organized the city's first night school for colored men and boys and served as president of the Virginia Teachers' Association (later merged with the Virginia Education Association).

    Bowser School opened September 1965, for "socially maladjusted" pupils, and was a successor to the Kate Cooke School. When it was discontinued in June 1979, it was known as Rosa Bowser Special Vocational School.

    The Open High School program was located in this building from 1979-86.

    Bowser Building was declared surplus to the City, March 18, 1987; it is currently the home of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia, Inc.


    1969-1970 - 35
    1978-1979 - 30 (final)
    Head Teachers:

    1965-1970 Reginald Linwood Brown
    1970-1979 William E. Brown, Jr.