Jacksontown Elementary School Remembered

Lynchburg, Va- It's a building that has been standing since 1934. Now the Jackson Heights Center Art Studio is a part of the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department, but it once was the old Jacksontown Elementary School, and they'll be having a reunion next Saturday.

The property once belonged to the Lynch family, and in 1826 was sold to free African Americans. Fast forward a hundred years, a time of segregation. The men of the neighborhood built the two-room schoolhouse so African American children could go to school.

"Everybody worked together. We was one happy family from the foot of the hill to the church, " said Doris Pinnwoodson, who went to the elementary school with her siblings.

For 94-year-old Dorris Pinnwoodson and her younger sister Arnetha Haynes, only fond memories remain of "Jacksontown".

"I enjoyed it the whole time I was there," said Pinnwoodson.

"We knew one another and we slept at each other's house and we had a good time together," said Haynes.

The sisters are two of 14 children born at the house on the corner of Lafayette and Winston Ridge. They both attended Jacksontown Elementary School when it was a segregated two-room schoolhouse.

At times, the grades were small- Haynes said she had only one student in her grade once.

What the ladies remember most....

"We didn't have no car, we had to walk, " said Pinnwoodson.

The girls and nearly fifty others in the neighborhood walked almost a mile to school each day.

"We walked to school and walked back every day. Sometimes we had to come back for lunch, we forgot our lunch. We had to come back down the hill and get our lunch again," said Haynes.

One room held kindergarten through fourth grade and the other fifth through seventh.

Doris says many children who graduated from the school went on to college. Some became doctors, lawyers, and others, teachers.

"We didn't have nothing, but we got through there some kind of way. We were really blessed. God blessed us, " said Pinnwoodson.

The Campbell County School Board sold the school to the city in 1958. In the 1960s it became the Jackson Heights Community Center. And now, it's an art studio.

The Parks and Rec Department invites everyone to come to the reunion next Saturday the 19th. It will be from 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.