• 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.

Twelfth & Leigh School

  • Corner of 12th & Leigh Streets

    Twelfth & Leigh School was located in a rented building ($15 per month) which had been erected for a private school.

    The March 1873 Annual Report of the Committee on School Houses & Furniture states: 'This building, formerly the Merrill School, was erected on leased ground in 1865, at a rent of forty dollars per annum, by private contributors in this city and the North., for the free education of colored children. Trustees were appointed to carry out this purpose-under the control of the School Board it will never be used for a colored school. Your Committee suggest that the Board endeavor to get the trusteeship transferred to themselves."

    The four-room frame building was used from 1871-76; it was annually reported by the Superintendent to be old, dilapidated, and unfit for a school house. As late as 1879, it was listed as school property, acquired August 1872, with a value of $400.

    The "schools" (classes) at this location were considered an adjunct to Valley School (14th & Marshall Streets), under that principal's supervision.

    The Freedmen's Bureau gave financial aid to the erection of a building, also at 12th & Leigh, to be used for both normal and high school classes (see Richmond Colored High & Normal School).

    Valley School