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IN MEMORY OF: Dr. Virginia H. Russell Lawrenceville, VA March 23, 1926 – March 21, 2020
James Solomon Russell – Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives Postpones Wall of Fame Luncheon and Continues Museum Closing
MUSEUM UPDATE 6-29-20
The James Solomon Russell – Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives Board of Directors has decided to indefinitely postpone the 2020 Wall of Fame Luncheon that had been rescheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2020. The museum board will have the event and will advise when a new date has been scheduled. The museum will also remain closed for the foreseeable future. “The museum board is following the action of the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors, which closed county facilities because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus,” said James Grimstead, Museum Board Chairman. “The county has not yet reopened the Brunswick County Conference Center and since the museum is located in the conference center it will be closed until further notice. The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to pose a health risk and we want to ensure those who attend the luncheon and visit the museum will be as safe as possible. The museum board felt it necessary to protect the public and the museum volunteers by rescheduling the Wall of Fame Luncheon and having the museum remain closed. We hope everyone will understand our decision to postpone the luncheon scheduled for August 8th the luncheon and temporarily close the museum. The board also advises every one to continue to follow the guidelines established by the CDC, other experts, and elected leaders in helping to keep our families, neighbors, and communities safe and healthy.” For further updates and more information about the museum please visit jsrussell.org or spcmuseum.org.
The Reverend James Solomon Russell, 1857-1935
James Solomon Russell, priest, educator and founder of St. Paul’s College, was born into slavery on December 20, 1857, on the Hendrick plantation in Virginia. He was raised by his mother until after the Civil War, when his father, who had been working on a plantation in North Carolina, was able to join the family. Russell’s childhood was marked by poverty and hard work, as the newly-emancipated family struggled to run a small farm in Palmer Springs, Virginia.
Russell recounted in his autobiography that his mother gave him the middle name Solomon hoping that he would be as wise as his biblical namesake and that she made many sacrifices to ensure his education. As a young boy Russell attended a private school where his tuition was often paid in labor and food from the family farm. His education was frequently interrupted by financial constraints and the necessity of helping out at home but his mother always made sure he returned to school. Russell’s abilities caught the attention of the superintendent, who encouraged him to apply for boarding school, as his education could go no further in Palmer Springs. With the support of his parents and community, Russell entered the Hampton Institute in 1874, wearing a used hat and a suit made from wool grown in the neighborhood and woven on a community loom.
After completing his first year at Hampton, Russell was unable to pay the next year’s tuition and sought work as a teacher in order to save money. As part of his curriculum, his class recited the Apostle’s Creed every Friday afternoon. Community members began coming to the school to hear the children, including an Episcopalian woman who gave Russell the Book of Common Prayer. He was so impressed by what he read that he, “then and there became, spiritually, a member of the great Episcopal Church.”Read More
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James Solomon Russell High School Lawrenceville, VA A Brief History In the early days (1925), Brunswick County had no public high school facilities for black…