Exhibit celebrates Yancey School

Contributed by Evelyn Edson, president
Scottsville Museum

In 2017, the Albemarle County School Board decided to close Yancey Elementary School in Esmont and move the children attending it to Red Hill and Scottsville schools.

In the wake of that decision, the B.F. Yancey Heritage and History Project started to work on an exhibit to celebrate the cultural importance of the school to the community of Esmont in southern Albemarle County.
This exhibit, “Making a Way Out of No Way,” is a celebration of African-American education in Virginia.  The exhibit is in the main entryway of the school, and consists of wonderful vintage photos and texts, from the opening of the first schools for Black children after the Civil War.  One of these schools was the Glendower School in Keene, which was opened by the Freedman’s Bureau in 1869.  When Reconstruction came to an end, Black communities were on their own.

The earliest schools focused on primary education, but it was the vision of Benjamin F. Yancey that Black students deserved to advance further.  In 1912, a School League was organized, and the school was expanded to grades 1 through 8.  In the 1930s to the 1950s, Esmont High School served the upper grades until students moved to Jackson Burley High School in Charlottesville.

Yancey School is regularly open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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