Washington-Coleman Community Center
The Washington-Coleman Community Center, originally built in 1932 as Booker T. Washington High School, was the first publicly funded high school building that was open to African Americans in Halifax County, Virginia. The high school later relocated to a larger building across town and the school board then designated this building as the home of Washington-Coleman Elementary School. The school is named in honor of African American educator and leader, Booker T. Washington, and Matthew Hale Coleman, South Boston's first African American grammar school principal. Washington-Coleman served as an elementary school in Halifax County until 2007, when it became a community center.
Backstory and Context
Once the elementary school closed, the building was rechristened as the Washington-Coleman Community Center and is run by the town of South Boston's Recreation Department. It houses a preschool for local residents at no charge to the public, numerous exercise and wellness classes, arts and education classes, a walking track, and even has a room that can be reserved by the public for private events/parties. The WCCC also has a gymnasium, a lounge complete with billiards, a recording studio, and a room designed for karaoke.
Washington-Coleman Elementary School was designated as a Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail site in 2004, and a marker on the grounds highlights some of the more interesting facts and history of the building and its role in education before, during, and after integration in Southern Virginia.
Cassada, Eva. School's out for the last time at Washington-Coleman. June 06, 2011. Accessed September 28, 2018. www.sovanow.com.
Washington-Coleman Elementary School. Historical Marker Database. . Accessed October 21, 2018. www.HMdb.org.