LYNCHBURG, Va. (Dec. 30, 2011) --
A new historical marker in Lynchburg will honor leading educator and former slave Frank Trigg, state officials announced this week.
The proposed location for the approved marker is in front of Trigg’s former home on Pierce Street. Born into slavery in Richmond, Trigg served the Lynchburg schools for 22 years, as teacher, principal and eventually the first black supervisor of Lynchburg’s black public schools.
He also co-founded the Virginia Teachers’ Association, an organization for black teachers, and went on to serve as president of three different black colleges.
According to retired Old City Cemetery Director Jane White, Trigg helped start the Virginia Collegiate and Industrial Institute in Lynchburg, what would become the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. He retired to Lynchburg in 1926 and is buried in Old City Cemetery.
White recommended the marker honoring Trigg to the state’s Department of Historic Resources. She and Ted Delaney, the current assistant director of the Old City Cemetery, worked over the last decade to piece together Trigg’s history.
“He’s really a special person to us,” Delaney said. “He seemed to be a really well-known and respected leader in educational circles in Virginia … He’s someone that someone like Booker T. Washington would have known.”
During slavery, Trigg’s parents were personal servants of Virginia Governor John B. Floyd. He was still young when the Civil War ended. Due to the loss of an arm in a threshing injury, his parents sent him to school, instead of employing him as a farmhand as planned.
“He wound up being pretty darn smart,” White said.
He attended Hampton Institute, and began teaching in Abingdon before moving to Lynchburg in 1880, according to the information to be shared on his marker.
White said her records call him an able teacher and good disciplinarian, ahead of his time in believing in the education of both boys and girls.
This article first appeared in the The (Lynchburg, Va.) News & Advocate and is reproduced here with the newspaper's permission. To learn more about Frank Trigg during his tenure at old Princess Anne Academy, visit UMES' special 125th anniversary website.