• 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.

Monroe School

  • 122 West Leigh Street (Corner of Leigh & St. Peter Streets)

    The annual report for the year ending July 31, 1899, states: "During the year the City Council transferred to the School Board, under certain conditions, the building heretofore used as an armory for colored soldiers, northeast corner of Leigh and St. Peter Streets, to be used for school purposes. With some modifications it is excellently suited for the purpose. With the opening of the next session ,the school heretofore taught on the grounds of the Moore Industrial School and the adjacent property and known as Brook School will occupy this building and assume the name of Monroe School."

    The school continued in use for elementary grades until 1940, when it was described as "an antiquated fire trap," and the pupils were transferred to the new Baker School. The building was then used as a storage warehouse.

    Early in 1942, the school board turned over the Monroe School Building to the Richmond Service Defense Unit. In September 1942, plans were approved for the defense unit to make additions and alterations in the building for use as a recreational center for Negro citizens.

    Monroe Center was subsequently used by nearby Armstrong High School and later Graves (Junior High) Middle School. After World War II, these schools also used the gymnasium which had been added to the rear of the Monroe building for use by Negro troops.

    Armstrong Normal School used the Monroe Building from 1917-21 and 1927-33, under the supervision of Armstrong's assistant principal. Colored Special School was housed here from 1952-54.

    The Monroe property was declared surplus to the City, September 20, 1988, and is currently being used by the City.

    Enrollment:
    1910-1911 417
    1936-1940 361 (final)

    Principals:
    1899-1906 Jacob Ezekiel (formerly Brook Principal)
    1906-1909 Stephen O. Perkins*
    1909-1912 Hubbard G. Carlton (also Moore Principal)
    1912-1918 Head Teachers
    1918-1922 Elizabeth W. Winston (Armstrong Assistant Principal)
    1922-1936 (No principal listed)
    1936-1940 Katherine L. Johnson (Head Teacher)

    *On his retirement in 1909, Superintendent Fox commented: "To excellence of learning he did not add facility of expression, however, and ease of utterance and so failed frequently to make himself understood. He was a sterling man and exercised a good influence on his school ."

    See:
    Armstrong High School
    Brook School
    Graves (Junior High) Middle School