Boydton Institute, as it was familiarly called over the years (1879-1935) has an untold story which is important to the history of our nation. It needs to be documented and related to those who are truly interested in the entire truth of how we became who we are as a country.
The mostly young black students who went to this school, especially those who attended during the first twenty-five years or so, were some of the earliest formally educated people of color. As such, wherever they went from that place, they became leaders in their respective communities.
Almost no official records have been located yet. From the fifty-six years that Boydton Institute, under its various leadership groups, occupied this site. Only two documents, one from 1888-1889 and one from 1907-1908, which contain lists of enrolled students, have been discovered.
Notable among the former Boydton Institute students found so far was Vernon Johns, the minister who preceded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. He is often referred to as the “Father of the Civil Rights Movement.”
The life stories of the many hundreds of people who attended Boydton Institute are part of the fabric of our country’s history. Their stories should be told, and the importance of this place should be duly recognized.