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Washington-Coleman Community Center History


Washington-Coleman Community Center
and Early Learning Center
1927 Jeffress Blvd., South Boston, VA
  (434) 446-1802
(434) 272-2430 Fax


Comfort in Our Past and Faith in Our Future

The Washington Coleman Community Center also houses the South Boston Early Learning Center.   We have a multi-purpose room, exercise center, classrooms, recording studio, and senior citizen lounge.  For more information  contact Recreation Director, Matthew McCargo at soborec@gcronline or call the Center at (434) 446-1802.    

History of the WCCC.  It was originally housed the Booker T. Washington High School.  The first class graduated on May 31, 1933.The new school had a strong curriculum and a well-qualified staff in spite of its small population of some 30 students. The school was noted for its strong basketball team as it won the State Interscholastic Athletic Association championship in 1933.
Many of its graduates went on to college and became teachers, doctors and lawyers. One distinguished graduate, Dr. Hunter D. Hamlett subsequently served as head of the biology department at Virginia State University. In 1948, the South Boston high school was merged with the county's black high school which was named the Halifax Training School. In the 1950's the newly combined high schools became the largest rural black high school in the Commonwealth. It was renamed Mary Bethune High School in 1956. (see plan details)

      When Booker T. Washington High School vacated the Jeffress Avenue building in 1948, the facility was put to use as a public black grammar school. The new grammar school took the place of the old M.H. Coleman Grammar School located on nearby Penick Avenue. The old Coleman school site is now home to the Town of South Boston’s Penick Park. The new grammar school took it's current name in honor of Dr. Booker T. Washington and Matthew Hale Coleman who was principal of the first black grammar school in the Town of South Boston. 

      Halifax County has four sites on the 300-mile driving Civil Rights Heritage Trail which passes through Petersburg and 13 Southern Virginia counties. The Halifax County sites are Mary Bethune High School in Halifax, Washington-Coleman Elementary School at 1927 Jeffress Blvd. and Mizpah Church at 308 Ragland Street, both in South Boston, and Meadville Community Center on Route 57 . The trail is described by its founders as "the first memorial trail of its kind in Virginia dedicated to commemorating the African-American, American-Indian and women's struggle for equality." 

      The Town of South Boston acquired the Washington-Coleman facility from Halifax County in 2007 when the new South Boston Elementary School open on Parker Avenue on land donated by the Town for the site of the new school. From the first discussions of consolidating the two South Boston elementary schools into a new modern facility, the Town of South Boston sought ownership and responsibility for protecting and preserving this most historic and meaningful community treasure.