Author: Hilary N. Green


Ralza M. Manly (1822–1897)

Ralza M. Manly served as Virginia’s superintendent of education under the Freedmen’s Bureau and later helped establish and run the Richmond Colored Normal School. Born in Vermont, Manly was a minister and educator who began teaching African Americans when he became chaplain of the 1st United States Colored Cavalry at Fort Monroe during the American Civil War (1861–1865). After the war he oversaw the rapid expansion of black education civilian government returned to Virginia. He spearheaded the creation of what became the highly regarded Richmond Colored Normal School and served as its principal twice. In 1885 he left the state for Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where he joined his second wife on the faculty. He eventually moved to San Diego, California, and died there in 1897.