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Road marker honoring St. Clare Walker okayed

by Larry Chowning

A historical state road sign commemorating black educator John Henry St. Clare Walker has been approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). 

The marker will be erected in front of the Cooks Corner Office Complex that houses the school administration and Middlesex County Social Services offices. The building was once St. Clare Walker High School and later St. Clare Walker Middle School.

The sign is among a dozen new historical markers approved for Virginia’s roadways, stated a news release that was released by VDHR on December 28.

The marker was spearheaded by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Middlesex County Board of Supervisors, and Middlesex School Board.

The county embraced the project in 2015 when Lewis Briggs, the late Purnell Wood and Nancy Denny encouraged supervisors and the school board to support the road sign to honor the well-known Middlesex County black educator.

St. Clare Walker was born in 1876 near Healys Mill Pond at Stormont in Middlesex County and was the oldest of 15 children. He learned to read and write in an integrated home school run by a white family near Whitings Creek at Locust Hill.

An early black educator in the days of American segregation, St. Clare Walker earned degrees from Hampton Institute and dedicated his life to bringing education to Middlesex County black children, teaching for 20 years at Dunbar School in Deltaville and later served as principal of Middlesex Training School, which eventually became St. Clare Walker High School. He died in 1960.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 01.03.2018

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