Sunday, February 01, 2009

In Black History Month, One-Room School Opens to Offer Lessons -

In Black History Month, One-Room School Opens to Offer Lessons - A 19th-century school that served Prince William County's African American population opens for public tours today in honor of Black History Month.

The Lucasville School, at 10516 Godwin Dr. in the Manassas area, will be open every weekend this month from noon to 4 p.m. The one-room school was the only one in the county solely for African Americans, said Robert Orrison, a historic site manager for the county. A few one-room schools that served whites remain, but most have been converted into homes.

'We opened the school up last February,' Orrison said. 'It's a great place to learn about segregated schools and how education was done in the 19th and early 20th century.'

Built in 1885, the Lucasville School served children in grades one through six until 1926, Orrison said. About 20 to 25 students of different ages would pack into the building each year to learn from a single instructor. The school was filled with benches, not desks, Orrison said, and blackboards were made of pieces of plywood painted black, unlike at white schools, where students had blackboard slates.

Orrison said the school was named after the Lucasville village, which dissolved around the 1940s. The village sat at Lucasville Road and Godwin Drive and was home to several former slaves.