Mapping Segregation in Virginia's Early Public Schools
Original Author: Unknown
Created: ca. 1870
Medium: Hand-drawn map
Publisher: Alexandria County/Arlington Va. Court Records

Mapping to Create Segregated Schools

This circa 1870 hand-drawn map of Jefferson Township (part of present-day Arlington) indicates the precise locations of white and Black dwellings in the area. The map was created in response to the state law establishing the first public school system for all children in Virginia—a school system that demanded separate schools for the races. Places on the map marked "W" indicate white residences, and those marked "C" (for "colored," the common parlance of the time) indicate Black residences. Whites and Blacks lived in fairly close proximity in this area; yet, by law, the schools had to be segregated. This map, which was attached to an 1870 census of school-aged children in Jefferson Township, indicates the lengths that local officials went to in order to satisfy the new law.

Citation: Alexandria County Superintendent of Schools Records, 1851-1920, Alexandria/Arlington County Court Records, Local Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.