History of Laurel Grove School

The Story of the Laurel Grove Colored School epitomizes the actions of many freedmen and freedwomen after the Civil War. In 1881, William Jasper and his wife Georgiana deeded one-half acre of land from their thirteen-acre farm to the local Franconia school district. Jasper, a former slave, cited in a Freedman's Register as a black man 5 foot 6 ½ inches high, scar on the back of the left hand, scar on the ankle, joined Middleton Braxton, George Carroll, Thornton Gray and others in the community to address an urgent need - the education of their children.

Former slaves built the one-room schoolhouse. Parents, grandparents, and neighbors provided the materials and labor. They hired teachers, scraped together funds to purchase books and donated a piano and furnishings for the schoolroom. Thru their efforts, the Laurel Grove School opened a gateway to the literary and basic skills necessary for the first generation born to freedom.

The enthusiasm and pride of the colored teachers, parents, and the African American community prevailed against the resistance and harassment of the county's white residents. Laurel Grove students remember closing the shutters of their school to prevent rocks from breaking windows. Yet, in this segregated school, without the facilities and supplies, Laurel Grove students learned geography without maps and competed successfully with their peers in colored fairs. A few followed the example of teachers, earning certificates to educate new generations of children in the county's segregated public schools.

Family and School Timeline

  • Between 1808 and 1814 William Jasper was born a slave to Morris and Eliza Jasper, on William Hayward Foote's Hayfield Plantation.
  • 1846- William Foote dies; William Jasper and his family are freed by his will.
  • 1853- William and Sarah register as free blacks and are given permission to live in Fairfax County, VA.
  • 1860- Thompson Javins deeds land to William Jasper
  • 1867- Jasper votes in Fairfax County, Virginia¡¤ 1869- Marriage License for William and Georgiana Jasper
  • 1870- Census taken-literacy a question
  • 1881- Jaspers deeds land for school to Mt. Vernon District
  • 1886- Laurel Grove School established
  • 1886-1891 Emma J. Quander teaches at LGS
  • 1894- S.J. Jaspers teaches at LGS
  • 1895- William Jasper dies
  • 1907- Photos of schools for black and white children show inequality
  • 1917- Draft registration of Walker Jenkins and other LGS parents
  • 1922- 8th Annual Colored Fair (began in 1914)
  • 1927- LGS wins award for selling tuberculosis seals
  • 1932- Laurel Grove School closed
Georgianna Jasper