African American Museum at the Wytheville Training School
AboutConstructed about 1882, the Wytheville Training School was built on land where a Freedmen's school once stood, shortly after the freedom of the slaves between 1865 and 66. Sometime between 1880 and 1882, the Freedmen's school was razed and a new church and school, as they appear today, were erected. In 1883, an agreement was made between the Evansham (now Wytheville) School District and the trustees of the Franklin Street Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church to buy the school. The deed outlined an arrangement by which the M. E. Church was given the privilege to use the school building for religious worship on the Sabbath and for prayer meetings and funerals. They could also use the school for festivals and social meetings as long as such functions did not interfere with the school functions. The school was used as a church until the new church building was constructed in 1886.
Interesting Story - African American education in Wythe County began after the Civil War with the Freedmen's Bureau schools for freed slaves and their families. In 1876, these schools were replaced by a young Negro educator, Richard Henry Scott, who moved to the area from Chesterfield County, VA. Dr. Scott first taught in the county schools, later holding classes in the basement of the Franklin Street Methodist Episcopal Church. A school for Negro students was started in a frame building, no longer standing, at the corner of Franklin and Fifth Streets and was later replaced by the present building which housed the Wytheville Training School. Negro children from Wythe and surrounding counties attended this school until a new facility, named in honor of Dr. Scott, was built in 1952. The site of the Wytheville Training School includes a small frame building in the rear which was the fourth-grade classroom.