Second Union (Rosenwald) School, Inc. – From the Beginning

Second Union School was built on land formerly owned by S. B. Massie and his brother, Matthew Massie, inherited from their mother, Lucy Fleming. The Massie parcel contained 49 2/5 acres and was located near Second Union Colored Baptist Church. On July 5, 1917, S. B. Massie sold a piece of his property to the Byrd school district.  Funds from the Julius Rosenwald Fund (while still in its early years and based at Tuskegee Institute) were used to help build the school. The school was built using plans and specifications for a two-room, two-teacher school at a total cost of $2,000. Of that total, the African-American contribution was $150, the public contribution was $1,800, and the Rosenwald Fund contribution was $50. Terms of the Rosenwald Fund required that public and/or private funds be raised in an amount at least equal to the amount of the fund’s contribution.  

Second Union School played a major role in the Byrd District of Goochland county. The school was used to educate black children in grades first through seventh until 1959.  At that point, students were transferred to a consolidated elementary school, Second Union School, about a mile away. Simultaneously, Goochland County sold the original building to the trustees of Second Union Baptist Church for nine hundred dollars. The church used the building for Sunday school, Bible school classes, and August Homecoming dinners. After Second Union Baptist Church built a new fellowship hall, the school building became a place for storage. In 2005, alumni of Second Union School and members of Second Union Baptist Church teamed with the Goochland Historical Society to secure a Lowe’s Grant to renovate the exterior of the school (repairing the roof, windows, concrete steps, building a handicap ramp, painting, and replacing rotten side boards). Also, electrical work was completed, and an HVAC system was installed. The next step was to restore the interior of the building and turn it into a museum dedicated to Black American education in Goochland County. 

The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The Historical marker was erected alongside the road in 2007. In 2009, the organization was granted a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. In 2016, Virginia Association of Museums recognized the school as a museum.  Currently, Second Union (Rosenwald) School Museum and the Goochland County public Schools work together by aligning the SOLs with the museum’s history. The museum is open to the public. 

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