Cornland School Foundation

Cornland School, on Benefit Road in Chesapeake, educated "colored" children from 1871-1952. Watch this page for info on its restoration.

Operating as usual

According to Harper | The legacy of Crestwood High 06/19/2021

According to Harper | The legacy of Crestwood High

Even as this school year comes to a close, we remember that 50 years ago, the final high school class from the segregated Crestwood High School graduated. (The picture below is Norfolk County High School.) As Raymond Harper reports, Crestwood was built from the same plans as Great Bridge High School. The schools were "separate but equal;" the late Harry Blevins told me that the same key would open both buildings!
The court's declaration that segregated education was unconstitutional was not totally implemented until the 1971-2 school year in Chesapeake. For several years prior, it was possible for Black students to attend white schools, but students were responsible for providing their own transportation. Crestwood soon developed a stellar reputation in academics and athletics and was, by all accounts, a close and supporting community pillar.
Today the Crestwood building is a middle school and is home to a museum to Crestwood High School. Crestwood High School also has an active alumni association.

According to Harper | The legacy of Crestwood High Raymond Harper reports on the short but illustrious legacy of Crestwood High, formed in the middle of the effort to eliminate segregated schools.

131-0111 Cornland School 06/08/2021

131-0111 Cornland School

I think this picture dates to the 1950's or early 60's because there are no trees to be seen between the school and church.

131-0111 Cornland School The Cornland School in the City of Chesapeake is a one-room schoolhouse built in 1903 that served African American students in the Pleasant Grove School District in the former Norfolk County (now part of the City of Chesapeake) during the era of segregation. Cornland replaced a ca. 1868 school that....

This century-old Chesapeake school will soon anchor a Black history center 06/03/2021

This century-old Chesapeake school will soon anchor a Black history center

This article appeared in today's Pilot.

This century-old Chesapeake school will soon anchor a Black history center The Cornland School is believed to be the oldest African American school in Hampton Roads that was built before the Rosenwald school movement.

05/28/2021

Historic Preservation Month: Episode 6 - Cornland School

Update on our school.

05/26/2021

Members of the Owens family, and the City of Chesapeake along with elected officials will dedicate a state historical marker that highlights the Owens-Melvin House in Chesapeake and the life of civil rights activist Dr. Hugo Armstrong Owens, a World War II veteran who worked to desegregate public facilities in Portsmouth during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970 Owens became one of the first two African Americans elected to the Chesapeake City Council, ultimately serving eight of his ten years on the council as the city’s vice-mayor.

The marker ceremony starts at 11 a.m., tomorrow, Wednesday, May 26, at the marker’s location alongside the Owens-Melvin House at 732 Shell Road, Chesapeake, VA 23323

Photo of Dr. Owens speaking is courtesy of Old Dominion University.

Text of Marker:

Owens-Melvin House
James Edward Owens and Grace Catherine Melvin Owens, the college-educated children of formerly enslaved people, built this Queen Anne-style house ca. 1915. Their son Dr. Hugo Armstrong Owens, dentist and civil rights activist, was born here in 1916. After serving in World War II, Hugo Owens worked to desegregate public facilities in Portsmouth in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970 he became one of the first two African Americans elected to the Chesapeake City Council. Owens served eight of his ten years on council as the city’s vice-mayor. He sat on the Board of Visitors of Norfolk State University and was rector of both Virginia State University and Old Dominion University.

05/06/2021

Historic Preservation Month: Episode 1 - Southern Chesapeake

Here's the Historic Preservation Commission's video so you can see what the Dismal Swamp Trail looks like.

The Great Dismal Swamp was a refuge for the enslaved. Their descendants want to preserve it. 04/14/2021

The Great Dismal Swamp was a refuge for the enslaved. Their descendants want to preserve it.

A good read!

The Great Dismal Swamp was a refuge for the enslaved. Their descendants want to preserve it. A Virginia congressman has filed a bill to make the swamp a National Heritage Site.

04/14/2021

Chesapeake - An Exceptional Place to Play!

See what's up with Parks and Rec. Hint: it includes Cornland

Photos from Cornland School Foundation's post 03/30/2021

Randolph Snead, Cornland School alumni and foundation committee member, passed away March 22. Randy was so much more to us than those titles. His family owned the land on which Cornland and its predecessor sat. Many members of his family attended the school, and his father protected it from being sold in the 1950's.
Randy didn't say much about his time at Cornland except that it was fun, and he always enjoyed school. He did, however, remember that time when he tried to teach his friend Robert how to box and getting knocked out instead! Randy made the transition to the new Southeastern Elementary School when Cornland and the other small schools closed. He graduated from Crestwood High School and Virginia Union University. He retired from Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Randy felt the weight of balancing his family's need to keep the land which his parents had left for the entire family and the wants of the foundation to share the school with the public. He did not take this responsibility lightly.
Randy, we will remember you with respect and love, and we offer our sincerest sympathy to your family.
e

Photos from Lago Mar on the Back Bay's post 03/01/2021

Photos from Lago Mar on the Back Bay's post

02/27/2021

Virtual African American Speaker Series
Original two-part series for Black History Month

The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation is excited to host Sheila Arnold, noted storyteller for this original speaker series. Sheila brings a gifted touch to relating Africa American history to today’s audience.

• On February 18th 6:30pm-8pm: "Color of Liberty: African American Stories in the Revolutionary War" - a group of stories, songs, and poetry about and by Black people during the Revolutionary War era, including the Ethiopian Regiment and Billy Flora, a hero of the Battle of Great Bridge.

• On February 28th 2pm-3:30pm: “Stories of the Dismal Swamp” - folktales and true stories of those who came to the Great Dismal Swamp. This program includes tales of the maroon colonies and the Underground Railroad.
Each of these topics will provide greater insights into African American life during the 18th and 19th centuries and allow viewers to learn more about the history of our region.

This virtual series is free and open to the public through the generous sponsorship of Williams Mullen.

"Color of Liberty" registration link- Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUud-yrrTwoHNC9E6ooANDf6bCSZkGNKErc

"Stories of the Dismal Swamp" registration link - Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMvdeGvqj4pGdUqSDHpWo85T6ZzkKYFQ0ec

Sheila Arnold is a sought-after historical consultant for museums and exhibit designers helping to develop engaging stories from documents, artifacts, buildings and the use of land and water. www.mssheila.org.

For further information please feel free to contact the Foundation at:

1775 Historic Way,
Chesapeake, VA 23320
www.GBBattlefield.org
757-482-4480

Did You Know? - Maroon Communities 02/26/2021

Did You Know? - Maroon Communities

Toby Word gives a great interpretation of the maroon colonies in the swamp.

Did You Know? - Maroon Communities Part of Visit Chesapeake, VA - Did You Know? series exploring amazing history with ties to Chesapeake.Today, refuge and resilience. Maroon Communities and th...

At shipyard and beyond, new carrier’s name resonates 02/25/2021

At shipyard and beyond, new carrier’s name resonates

Navy names new carrier after an African American WWII hero

At shipyard and beyond, new carrier’s name resonates Living in Newport News’ Southeast Community, Darnell Prigmore sort of knew that the familiar Doris Miller Community Center on Wickham Avenue was named for a Navy hero, but he didn’t learn Miller’s whole story until he got curious about the name of a Ford-class carrier that he and his team at N...

02/23/2021

Rest in peace, Horace Riddick (1934-2021), Cornland School alumnus.

Rest in peace, Horace Riddick (1934-2021), Cornland School alumnus.

Photos from Lago Mar on the Back Bay's post 02/23/2021

Have some 'cue and see the progress.

02/22/2021

Osmon: the man, the myth, the maroon???

Osmon: the man, the myth, the maroon???

Photos from Cornland School Foundation's post 02/22/2021

While reporters Frederick Law Olmsted and Daniel Hunter Strother romanticized life in the swamp for their readers, the freedoms they described became more restricted after Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831. By 1847, North Carolina required free blacks to register if they were working in the North Carolina side of the swamp. Many slaves registered too. The descriptions were very complete: height, weight, coloration, and identifying marks, including moles and scars. Sometimes the descriptions included the examiners' assessments of personality and behaviors. The workers were given paperwork to carry.
Not everyone in the swamp was registered. The Dismal Swamp was a magnet for run-aways, maybe 50,000. Most were coming through on their way to freedom. If they could get to Norfolk or Portsmouth, they could be smuggled on a ship to the North, or later, meet Union forces. Today the National Park Service has declared The Great Dismal Swamp as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
"Charlie" came through the swamp. He feared being sold and separated from his wife. He planned to escape, buy her freedom, and send for her. While in the swamp, he was befriended by shingle cutters and , for a time, cut shingles for them in exchange for food. When he learned that his enslaver had made his wife take another husband, he was brokenhearted and left.
John Nichols was another slave who came through the Dismal. When the Union forces approached his plantation, a rumor circulated among the slaves that they would be rounded up by their masters and shipped to Cuba. A group of them pooled $300 which they paid to another slave who claimed he could guide them through the swamp to Portsmouth. When they learned that he had betrayed them, they ran to the swamp anyway. All were captured except seven, including John and his father. Those seven were all separated, but John, who was fourteen, reasoned that if he followed a canal, he would come out somewhere. Battling insects and avoiding snakes, he did come out at Portsmouth. Six came out there, but John's father was presumed dead. Later, John learned his father was in Norfolk, but he decided to head North instead of looking for him. He lived the rest of his life in Lewiston, Maine.

Also in the swamp were people who had no intention of leaving. These were called maroons from a Spanish word meaning untamed. Researchers of both documents and soil believe there were colonies of maroons in the swamp, some as large as 30 people. Daniel Sayers, an archeologist from American University who has done many digs in the swamp, says that at various times the maroon colonies might have been native Americans whose tribes had dissolved or moved on, whites who hated civilization, and escaped slaves. They lived on higher ground, "islands," deep in the swamp. They may have raided farms close to the swamp or stole from lumber camps in the swamp, but he basically describes them as living a stone-age existence. They found and reused tools from previous inhabitants until the tools were all used up. Sayers has found several places in the swamp where maroons lived, but he's keeping quiet about just where.
Edward Downy Maris-Wolf in his dissertation for William and Mary believes that maroons exchanged shingles for supplies with slaves and free blacks. Lumber company managers paid for shingles over and above quotas, were free with supplies, and didn't ask questions.
Frederick Law Olmsted caught glimpses of mysterious persons, and Daniel Hunter Strother published a drawing of Osman, an old African wearing skins and carrying a gun in Harper's Magazine.
Life in the swamp would seem to be a detriment for family life for slaves and free blacks; however, whole families lived as maroons. One person claimed that some maroons were born and raised in the swamp and never saw a white person.
Researchers believe that information about the maroons has been omitted from history because these people found their freedom and were autonomous at a time when the public view of slaves painted them as incapable of self-governance.
Sayers says that maroons left the swamp after the war, some settling on its edges. He would love to hear from people who have maroons in their ancestry.
Please go to www.visitchesapeake/things-to-do to listen to the podcast on The Dismal Swamp. One thing, though, there are fish in Lake Drummond.
Also look for the following:
http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/great-dismal-swamp/

Historic Jarvisburg Colored School 02/22/2021

Historic Jarvisburg Colored School

Down the road and perfect for a visit

Historic Jarvisburg Colored School The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School Museum in Currituck County, NC offers free tours year round on Wednesdays or by appointment. Call 252-435-2947.

02/19/2021

You could drive over to the Waterways Park or you could stay in, stay dry, listen to this podcast, and maybe win a prize.

Join us as we celebrate Black History Month with a weekly podcast contest!

Here's how it works:
🎧 Listen to the corresponding episode of Journeying Through Chesapeake: Virginia's African American Heritage at www.VisitChesapeake.com/AAHT to complete the week's fill-in-the-blank

✉️ Email your response to [email protected] for a chance to win a tourism prize pack! Winners will be announced each Friday in February.

👉 This week, listen to the William "Billy" Flora episode and finish this sentence: Billy heard something. He peered over the top of his ______ ______.

Be sure to email your response!

02/18/2021

Up to the end of the Civil War, for both slaves and free blacks, the Dismal Swamp presented opportunities to make money, have adventure, and experience a taste of freedom. It also presented hard work, danger, and risk of death. The Dismal Swamp encouraged tall tales that would make Mark Twain blush; thank goodness we have first person accounts from Moses Grandy, and Willis Hodges, observations from reporters like Frederick Law Olmsted, and research by scholars to give a better picture of what happened there.
The swamp's lumber was a valuable asset, but it had to be harvested and moved which necessitated a variety of occupations: canal diggers, tree cutters, shingle makers, teamsters, and road maintenance crews. Edward Downey Maris-Wolf in his 2002 William and Mary dissertation observed that the workers' "experiences (were)shaped by the nature of duties rather than by their status as free of slave" (66).
Those men who dredged the canal were treated the worst. In the 18th century, the company dredging the canal owned slaves; by the 19th, slaves were leased for a term from owners. Some of these men were unfit for hard manual labor. Willis Hodges noted 500 men working from the North Carolina end of the canal; Moses Grandy saw 500-700 men on the Virginia side. Such a large number presented management problems; overseers used violence to keep people in line.
Hodges, a free man, leased himself out for $12 a month; he was one of 12 free men on the crew. He left, however, after he saw an overseer whip a man almost to death. The man, who was, according to Hodges, a kind, quiet, Christian man, was accused of stealing a hog. After the beating, the hog trotted back into camp. The overseer suffered no consequence.
Grandy was not on the dredging crew but he observed them while working on boats. (About 1/3 of the men working on the boats were African Americans). He saw them in water and muck, sometimes up to their neck, pulling up roots and mud and dealing with snakes and insects. If men were unable to keep up, they were flogged, sometimes hanging up all day with their feet barely touching the ground. Grandy says he saw some with their intestines exposed by the whip. Their wounds were rinsed with salt brine to make them hurt more, and then they were attacked by flies and mosquitoes. Many died. In fact, by 1853, the Dismal Swamp Land Company was buying life insurance on slaves. ( I assume they had to pay reparations to slave owners for dead slaves.)
Slaves who dredged the canals were given more food than other slaves in the swamp. One president of the DSLC even authorized managers to give slaves a "dram" (alcohol) in the morning to encourage good work. As long as they did their work and showed up on time, they were allowed to move about the swamp freely. Grandy remembers that their enslavers showed up monthly to collect their wages and perhaps give the slave a dollar or two or maybe some tobacco.
They slept at night in simple huts with a slanted roof, open on the end. Seven or eight slept together on the ground, few with blankets, with their feet toward the fire.
These men would return home for one or two months in the winter where they were not expected to work, according to Frederick Law Olmsted, although they might find extra work. They would return to the swamp in February.
It took 12 years to dig the canal, a rate of one and a half miles a year! Initially the canal was only 8' deep and narrow so it had to be improved. It was also only one of a series of waterways in the swamp which had to be maintained.
Other slaves and free black men in the swamp worked to maintain corduroy roads, fell trees, or cut shingles. While some worked in gangs, most had some degree of freedom, especially in their ability to travel within the swamp.
Shingle cutters, for example, received some supplies from the company and were given a quota of shingles to cut. They were also paid extra for shingles cut over and above the quota. Apparently these men had time to hunt and fish, even drink and gamble in their "spare" time. They even had church services on the shore of Lake Drummond. Olmsted observed that they "lived as free men (in the) liberty of the swamp." Of course they were not free, but they had a little taste of it.
Managers for the companies were always pressured to cut costs so they were willing to pay for piece work; this was cheaper than leasing and provisioning more slaves.
Moses Grandy took advantage of this while he was recovering from a bout of rheumatism. Grandy had borrowed money to buy his freedom and was trying to pay it back by working on the waterways. Because he was sick, he couldn't work his regular job, but he camped at Lake Drummond, felling trees and cutting shingles to sell by the piece when he felt well enough. People brought him provisions, but no one hassled him. (Well, no human did. Once in the night, some animal sniffed him, but he waved his arms and it left.) After a year he was able to return to the water.

The swamp was logged by different companies, and many people worked in it, but it was a vast place. There were, deep in the swamp, places where most did not venture. It was home to bears and cougars, huge snakes, and biting insects, and just maybe, more.
Next: maroons.

Up to the end of the Civil War, for both slaves and free blacks, the Dismal Swamp presented opportunities to make money, have adventure, and experience a taste of freedom. It also presented hard work, danger, and risk of death. The Dismal Swamp encouraged tall tales that would make Mark Twain blush; thank goodness we have first person accounts from Moses Grandy, and Willis Hodges, observations from reporters like Frederick Law Olmsted, and research by scholars to give a better picture of what happened there.
The swamp's lumber was a valuable asset, but it had to be harvested and moved which necessitated a variety of occupations: canal diggers, tree cutters, shingle makers, teamsters, and road maintenance crews. Edward Downey Maris-Wolf in his 2002 William and Mary dissertation observed that the workers' "experiences (were)shaped by the nature of duties rather than by their status as free of slave" (66).
Those men who dredged the canal were treated the worst. In the 18th century, the company dredging the canal owned slaves; by the 19th, slaves were leased for a term from owners. Some of these men were unfit for hard manual labor. Willis Hodges noted 500 men working from the North Carolina end of the canal; Moses Grandy saw 500-700 men on the Virginia side. Such a large number presented management problems; overseers used violence to keep people in line.
Hodges, a free man, leased himself out for $12 a month; he was one of 12 free men on the crew. He left, however, after he saw an overseer whip a man almost to death. The man, who was, according to Hodges, a kind, quiet, Christian man, was accused of stealing a hog. After the beating, the hog trotted back into camp. The overseer suffered no consequence.
Grandy was not on the dredging crew but he observed them while working on boats. (About 1/3 of the men working on the boats were African Americans). He saw them in water and muck, sometimes up to their neck, pulling up roots and mud and dealing with snakes and insects. If men were unable to keep up, they were flogged, sometimes hanging up all day with their feet barely touching the ground. Grandy says he saw some with their intestines exposed by the whip. Their wounds were rinsed with salt brine to make them hurt more, and then they were attacked by flies and mosquitoes. Many died. In fact, by 1853, the Dismal Swamp Land Company was buying life insurance on slaves. ( I assume they had to pay reparations to slave owners for dead slaves.)
Slaves who dredged the canals were given more food than other slaves in the swamp. One president of the DSLC even authorized managers to give slaves a "dram" (alcohol) in the morning to encourage good work. As long as they did their work and showed up on time, they were allowed to move about the swamp freely. Grandy remembers that their enslavers showed up monthly to collect their wages and perhaps give the slave a dollar or two or maybe some tobacco.
They slept at night in simple huts with a slanted roof, open on the end. Seven or eight slept together on the ground, few with blankets, with their feet toward the fire.
These men would return home for one or two months in the winter where they were not expected to work, according to Frederick Law Olmsted, although they might find extra work. They would return to the swamp in February.
It took 12 years to dig the canal, a rate of one and a half miles a year! Initially the canal was only 8' deep and narrow so it had to be improved. It was also only one of a series of waterways in the swamp which had to be maintained.
Other slaves and free black men in the swamp worked to maintain corduroy roads, fell trees, or cut shingles. While some worked in gangs, most had some degree of freedom, especially in their ability to travel within the swamp.
Shingle cutters, for example, received some supplies from the company and were given a quota of shingles to cut. They were also paid extra for shingles cut over and above the quota. Apparently these men had time to hunt and fish, even drink and gamble in their "spare" time. They even had church services on the shore of Lake Drummond. Olmsted observed that they "lived as free men (in the) liberty of the swamp." Of course they were not free, but they had a little taste of it.
Managers for the companies were always pressured to cut costs so they were willing to pay for piece work; this was cheaper than leasing and provisioning more slaves.
Moses Grandy took advantage of this while he was recovering from a bout of rheumatism. Grandy had borrowed money to buy his freedom and was trying to pay it back by working on the waterways. Because he was sick, he couldn't work his regular job, but he camped at Lake Drummond, felling trees and cutting shingles to sell by the piece when he felt well enough. People brought him provisions, but no one hassled him. (Well, no human did. Once in the night, some animal sniffed him, but he waved his arms and it left.) After a year he was able to return to the water.

The swamp was logged by different companies, and many people worked in it, but it was a vast place. There were, deep in the swamp, places where most did not venture. It was home to bears and cougars, huge snakes, and biting insects, and just maybe, more.
Next: maroons.

Videos (show all)

Cornland School  stabilization

Location

Category

Telephone

Address


Benefit Road
Chesapeake, VA
23322

General information

We have a new e-mail address [email protected]
Other Schools in Chesapeake (show all)
Career-Educational Services Career-Educational Services
3213 Pryor Ct
Chesapeake, 23323

The absolute place to go for professional resume writing.

Sailing Sharks Pre-K Program at Just Beginning Child Care Sailing Sharks Pre-K Program at Just Beginning Child Care
377 Hanbury Rd W
Chesapeake, 23322

Welcome to the Sailing Sharks page! We will update this page frequently to keep you informed about everything going on in our classroom!

P.E.R.S.E.P.T.I.O.N.S Driving School P.E.R.S.E.P.T.I.O.N.S Driving School
1157 Military Hwy S
Chesapeake, 23320

Driving school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake. Offering Driver Improvement, Behind the Wheel, Private driving lessons for teens & adults.

Deep Creek High School Football Fans Deep Creek High School Football Fans
2900 Margaret Booker Dr
Chesapeake, 23323

Deep Creek High Football fan page. This page is for the parents, family, and friends of Deep Creek High School football team.

Heavely Anointed Child Care and Learning Heavely Anointed Child Care and Learning
Historic South Norfolk
Chesapeake, 23324

Everest College Chesapeake - High School Division Everest College Chesapeake - High School Division
825 Greenbrier Cir, Ste 100
Chesapeake, 23320

Welcome to Everest College Chesapeake's High School Admissions Page!

VSLA Chesapeake Chapter VSLA Chesapeake Chapter
Post Office Box 2857
Chesapeake, 23324

VSLA Chesapeake Chapter is a public service organization devoted to promoting literacy throughout our city and to fostering a lifelong pursuit of reading.

Jolliff Middle School PTA Jolliff Middle School PTA
1021 Jolliff Rd
Chesapeake, 23321

We are the parent teacher association for the Jolliff Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia - home of the Jaguars! Instagram: https://instagram.com/jolliffmiddlepta/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/JolliffPTA

Hampton Roads Music Academy Hampton Roads Music Academy
838 Old George Washington Hwy N
Chesapeake, 23323

Come take private or group lessons and "Learn how to perform like the Pros".Sign up now for the summer Jazz Experience.

American International Seminary American International Seminary
2705 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, 23321

American International Seminary is a religious institution exempt from state regulation and oversight in the Commonwealth of Virginia. www.AmericanInternational.edu

Alpha College of Real Estate Alpha College of Real Estate
638 Independence Pkwy Ste 100
Chesapeake, 23320

Kingdom Life Academy Kingdom Life Academy
1280 Bells Mill Rd
Chesapeake, 23322

Kingdom Life Academy is dedicated to loving children and giving them a Godly fountain. We enroll 6 weeks through Pre-K and have aftercare K-5.