J. H. Dillard was an educator and reformer who, early in the twentieth century, became the best-known and most-active white proponents of improved educational opportunities for African Americans in the South. Born either in Southampton County or Nansemond County, he studied law before becoming a teacher. In 1894, he became a dean at Tulane University, in New Orleans. In 1908, he was elected president of the board of the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation, established to help the education of African Americans in the South by paying teacher salaries and investing in buildings and equipment. He returned to Virginia in 1913, working for the Jeanes Fund and as the president of the John F. Slater Fund, which had a similar mission, until he resigned both positions in 1931. By this time, the South had 305 so-called Jeanes teachers in fourteen states, with Virginia claiming more teachers than any other state. Dillard engaged in other work on behalf of interracial cooperation, establishing the University Commission on Southern Race Questions in 1912. In 1930, two historically black universities in New Orleans combined to form Dillard University, named in his honor. Dillard died at his home in Charlottesville in 1940.