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John J. Wright

In 1905, members of Black Baptist churches in Spotsylvania collected $1.25 to start the first school for their children. The call came from teacher John J. Wright, who thought the county’s Black youth deserved better education.

Birthdate:  November 18, 1863

Birthplace:  Spotsylvania, Virginia

Death:  January 02, 1931 (67)

Place of Burial:  Spotsylvania, Virginia

Immediate Family:   Louisa Alsop (Mother); Cora Jackson Wright (Wife); Jesse Wright and Jennie Wright (Children)

Occupation:  Educator


John J. Wright was the founder of the John J. Wright School in Snell, Virginia. The second child of Louisa Alsop, John was born November 18, either 1862 or 1863, on the William Blanton Farm (Rock Spring Farm) in Spotsylvania, Virginia. His mother later married Woodson Wright and birthed 10 more children. He attended primary school in Massaponax, but because there was no post-elementary school for him to attend, he grew and worked on the farm. He got the opportunity in 1891 to attend Virginia Normal & Collegiate Institute in Petersburg where he earned a teaching certificate in 1893. He returned to Spotsylvania and began his life's work of ensuring that his hometown children had a chance to learn too. He taught at the same school he attended as a child, and later organized a debating society he called, "The Rock Spring Lyceum."

John J Wright
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