African-American elementary schools, Halifax County, VA
Both the state and local governments supported the public school system, but black schools were chronically underfunded. Compare this primitive, wooden African American school in South Boston, Virginia, to the nearby photographs of white schools in South Boston from the same time period, the 1920s and 1930s. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Bottom photo: African American school, Halifax County
School attendance, particularly in rural areas, tended to be erratic, and Virginia had one of the lowest rates of attendance in the nation in the years before World War II. Black schools, however, were so underfunded that most of them were overcrowded. In 1900 the average black school had 37 percent more pupils in attendance than the average white school. Shown here is a black school in South Boston, Virginia, in the 1920s or 1930s. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress