Mary Nottingham Smith High School

Historical Significance

In 1931, J. Edgar Thomas, Susie Wharton Thomas, and William H. Bailey sold a lot in the town of Accomac containing 0.842 of an acre to the trustees of the Accomack County Colored High School Association for $750.00. The trustees, Reverend R. C. Hughes, W. J. Laws, R. H. Hall, G.W. Downing, Mary N. Smith, C.H. Ewell, and Alma Parker, purchased the property and in 1932 built the first secondary school for black children in Accomack County. This school was named for Mary Nottingham Smith (1892-1951), a trustee of the school and a person well known on the Eastern Shore. Born in Northampton County, Smith had worked in the Accomack County school system since 1921 as a Jeanes Educational Supervisor.

The Jeanes Foundation (also known as the Negro Rural School Fund) was founded by a Quaker, Anna T. Jeanes, to improve vocational training programs for teachers of black students. In 1953, a larger high school, also named Mary Nottingham Smith, was built on another site. The old 1956 Smith High School became T.C. Walker Elementary School, named after an African-American attorney from Gloucester County. This building was demolished in 1987.

The Mary Nottingham Smith Alumni Association, Inc. has been working to  purchase, renovate and preserve the original school building, in order to
convert it into a multi-purpose community center for continuing education, a museum and archives. 

Physical Description

No Physical Description Available

Geographical and Contact Information

24577 Mary N Smith Road
Accomac, Virginia
23301

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Mary Nottingham Smith High School,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed November 22, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/269.

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