The ODLC donated the site for the city’s first two schools and advanced the money to Newport News for the construction of the schools, which was later repaid. A school for white children was located on the north side of 28th Street between Washington and Lafayette Avenues (now Huntington Avenue). The school for black children was built on 22nd Street between Jefferson and Marshall Avenues. They were both built around 1881. The schools were called by their street names, the 28th Street School and the 22nd Street School.
Following the city’s incorporation, three new schools were built in 1899: the George Washington School (28th St.) , John Marshall School (23rd St.), and the Central School which was later renamed John W. Daniel School in 1908 (32nd St.). In 1921, it was determined that two new high schools were needed. Huntington High School (Marshall Ave. & 18th St.) for black students and Newport News High School (Huntington Ave. & 31st St.) for white students were completed in 1924.
The Fifth Annual Commencement Exercises of the Newport News High School were held in the Casino Building on the evening of May 28, 1901. This school began in 1896 and classes were originally conducted in the First National Bank Building at 28th Street and Washington Avenue.
Superintendent of ODLC
The letter explains the agreement made by the ODLC to pay half of the land cost while the community was to raise the other half of the cost for the State’s Colored Deaf and Blind School. It also shows some of the politics between the community and the ODLC at the time.
Established in 1908, the school taught the children life skills such as farming, baking, sewing, broom and rug making, as well as sign language. In its fourth year the students grew and harvested 445 bushels of corn, 300 of sweet potatoes, 300 of Irish potatoes, and several thousand heads of cabbage. The products were used for the self sufficiency of the school and income was gained from the surplus.