Virginia Changemakers
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  • Tags: Education

Isabella Gibbons learned to read while enslaved and later educated hundreds of African Americans as a teacher in the freedmen's schools and public schools of Charlottesville.


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Jamelle Smith Wilson is the first woman and first African American to lead the Hanover County Public School Division.
Hanover County


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An astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Beth A. Brown worked to inspire women and minorities to pursue careers in science.

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As a teenager, Edwilda Allen Isaac helped lead a walkout of students from R. R. Moton High School that contributed to ending school segregation in the United States.

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Civil rights pioneer Olivia Ferguson McQueen successfully challenged school segregation in 1959, but did not receive her diploma for another fifty-four years.

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James Heyward Blackwell advanced the cause of African American public education in Richmond for more than forty years.

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Born into slavery, Jennie Serepta Dean founded a school at a time when segregation limited educational opportunities for African American students.


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Appointed the 12th president of Virginia Union University in 2009, Claude Grandford Perkins has worked tirelessly to expand the school's horizons and preserve its future.


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Early in the twentieth century, Robert Russa Moton was one of the foremost African American educators in the United States.

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Charles Spurgeon Johnson battled racism early in the twentieth century as a preeminent sociologist, author, educator, and college president.
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