Piedmont Virginia Digital History: The Land Between the Rivers
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NAACP Correspondence letters

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NAACP Correspondence letters


Thurgood Marshall visited Louisa County in the late summer of 1936 on behalf of the national office of the NAACP in response to letters received from a local citizen.


NAACP Records transcriptions
Actual Photos available upon request
Library of Congress, Madison Building (LM)
Manuscript Room
Record Title: NAACP records, 1842-1999
Container: Box I: C202
Contents: Part I: Administrative File, 1885-1949, Louisa County Schools, 1935-1937 (2 folders)

(Summary at end...letters placed in chronological order)

1919 – Applied for charter, granted a charter in 1919

J. Rice Perkins to Walter White, August 17, 1933
“I saw in the press that there was some contention of the number of lynchings in 1932. I am sure that you failed to get one from our county, Louisa, in the 8th Congressional District the district represented by Mr. who is so hurt about the cry against Virginia justice. This young man was murdered the 2nd Monday in June,

Folder 10: American Fund for Public Service VA Louisa County School Case 1935-1936

LOUISA, VA. May 7, 1935

Mr. Walter White
Secretary, N.A.A.C.P.
New York

Dear Mr. White

I wrote you in 1933 a happening here in Louisa, VA. and concerning a branch of NAACP. You wrote me to write you “whenever” I thought the time ripe for organization. I haven’t been able to discover any change for the good yet of forming a branch here. You allso ask me for some information concerning a Lynching. I didn’t have at the time but since that time I could have given some if I wasn’t afred,

Now what I am writing you about in this letter is our school. We are in a county with about equal number of inhaptians and we need help to get us a better school it seem that ample promissions have bin make for the white child the have 5 schools for the children in the higher grades plenty of provissions for transporting the children and we haven’t a High school no where near us and if the children get to the Training School the Parents have to pay for the transportation out of nothing because its no way of making a dime here, we understand the have made application for $10,000 and claim all will be spent for white school. If we fail to get in on this PWA allotment you know we are done for. We want to form a Parent Teachers Ass – please write us that you will help us in our undertaking before Sun. if possible.

You know our worse enemy is ourselves. We dont have anybody to lead us and give us information. I think if you were to make some inquiries of our local board and the thought some one was interested in us it would do a lot of good you see the get among our week kneeded Bretheren and keapt them devided and when you go before them the tell you you dont know nobody but God can get our folks together. You write Supt. D. B. Webb and ask him how many High schools in the county for whites and col. and the amounts spent for transporting the white children to and from school. Tell him you are interested and wish to help and lets see what affect .

With best wishes,

J. Rice Perkins,
Louisa, VA

Amer. Fund Camp
(Re.-Louisa, Va—School case)

May 8 1935

Dear Charlie:

Do you think it will be wise for you to write the letter of inquiry which Mr. Perkins suggests in the enclosed copy of letter from him? He wishes this letter addressed to the Superintendent of schools. If you do think so, won’t you in your capacity as special Counsel in charge of Education write such a letter and send us a copy?

P.S. I have written Mr. Perkins that I am referring the matter to you.
Charles H. Houston, Esq.
Howard University Law School
420 Fifth Street, N. W.
Washington, D. C.

WW:CTF (new page)

May 9th, 1935
My dear Mr. Perkins:
I have your letter of May 7th and I have referred it immediately to Dean Charles H. Houston of the Howard University Law School, Washington, D. C. who is in charge of the campaign we have just started against segregation and discrimination in public schools.
Ever sincerely,
Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Louisa, Virginia.

16 May 1935

Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia.

My dear Mr. Perkins:

I was out of town when your letter of May 7 came and unable to meet with you on May 13. I have also received from Mr. White a copy of the letter that you wrote him.

The Virginia State Conference of the N.A.A.C.P. meets in Norfolk on May 26. One of the matters on the program will be educational discrimination in Virginia. If you can come down to Norfolk, I am sure you will be well repaid and inspired.

At the present time I do not know the place of the meeting, but you can find this out by dropping a line to the President of the Virginia State Conference, Mr. J. M. Tinsley, 402 ½ North Second Street, Richmond, Virginia.

Yours sincerely,

Charles H. Houston

October 17, 1935

Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia

My dear Mr. Perkins:

I will be in Virginia this weekend and will try to come by Louisa Tuesday morning. October 22nd. Let me know how I can reach you and get as many facts as you can concerning the Louisa school situation. If there are other parents who are concerned with the matter, speak to them.

You can reach me early Monday in care of Dr. J. W. Tinsley, 402 ½ North 2nd Street, Richmond, Virginia.

Yours sincerely,

Special Counsel

(new page)

Louisa Virginia
October 14th 1935

Mr. Walter White, Secretary, N.A.A.C.P.
69-5th Ave
New York, City

Dear Mr. White

I am writing youy again about school conditions in our County Louisa. I have written you before and you answered in May 1935. You wrote me you had referred my letter to Dean Houston, and I allso had a letter from him inviting me to Portsmouth, VA where the wear having a meeting. I couldnt get to the meeting and failed to see him. I cant write you what I would like to write you because I don’t know how to get the information. I know the white children have three Graded or 5 schools where the tach the Higher brances 3 if them High schools with sufficient Buses and hired private conviences to carry the children to and from school schools heated and modern heated facilitys and sanatery arrangements Janitors. And I know the colored people of the county haven’t one school in the county with any of the above facilitys the sanatery arrangements couldn’t be worse. The children have to act as janitors clean cut wood and anything elce that’s done. The have 3 buses running at the patrons expence each child is assessed $100 per head the buses belong to private individuals not one own by the county. Now I am writing you cant you help us to get this discrimination before who ever the proper one is to make complaint all you get from the Local County Board is the are not able but the provide everything neascary for the white children I am informed the now are expecting $7000 from P.W.A. for the white scool the spent $5000 0f C.W.A. for the same school making $12,000 inside of 2 years for one school write me what you think best for us to do. I have 7 children to Educate and I have bin unemploy for 5 year except a little C.W.A. work 1933. I shall look for an incourging letter from yopu soon.
With best wishes for better conditions.

Yours Very Truly

J Rice Perkins

Louisa, Va Box 142

November 18, 1935
Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia

My dear Mr. Perkins:
It is my recollection that we agreed
to have a mass meeting at Louisa on Saturday, Novem-
ber 23rd. I am speaking in Petersburg on the 22nd
and can come to Louisa for the 23rd if you still wish
me to do so. Please discuss this matter with the citi-
zens and let me know at once.
With best wishe4s,
Yours sincerely,

Special Counsel

Nov – 21st 1935 Louisa County-Schools

Mr. Chas. H. Houston
119 – E. Leigh St.
Richmond Va
My dear Mr. Houston
Your letter just received stating you expected to be in Petersburg on the 22nd and if we so desired you could arrang- to be with us on the 23rd at our Mass Meeting by all means come We assure you we feel honered at any time to have you in our midst we shall look for you without fail.

With best wishes
J. Rice Perkins
Box 142, Louisa Va

Attended meeting
Louisa County – Schools
N. A. A. C. P.
69 Fifth Avenue
New York City
December 5, 1935
Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia
My dear Mr. Perkins
I trust that you and the good citizens of Louisa
are continuing your efforts with greater intensity to
see that all Negro citizens of the county pay their poll
taxes and register at once. If the citizens cannot pay
their poll taxes for the three years, which is necessary
for them to qualify to vote, impress upon them the neces-
sity of paying their poll taxes for the current year.
This will give them a standing when they protest for better
educational facilities. The petition can be signed by
taxpayers and by voters.
Also, I impress upon the citizens that we are not
Only concerned with registration and voting this year, but
that we are trying to build up a permanent voters’ list.
Therefore, if anyone who has not paid poll taxes in the
past, does not have the $4.50 this year, he should still
pay the current poll taxes, which will leave him that much
less to pay at the next registration period. Impress on
every one the necessity of registering immediately.
I am sending you four or five copies of this
letter in order that you may mail them out to different
districts in the county, if you so desire. Also, speak
to all the friends who come to town on Saturday and ask
them to carry the message back to the churches on Sunday.
Let me know how many citizens are now actually
With best wishes to all, I am
Yours sincerely,

Charles H. Houston
Special Counsel


Jan. 16th 1936
Mr Charles H. Houston
69 – 5th Ave
New York, N.Y.
My dear Mr. Houston
I received your letter
of Dec 5th and have bin writing
to report to you but so far
for some cause we havent
bin able to get the people
togather. I learn the we ( are)
being double crossed
Some of our folks that know
everything have bin circulating
it around that you cant
do anything and advising the
people to stay away and let
this move die if it should
succeed that I would get
the credit for the success
You know our folks?
Now we are giving them
another chance Sat- week
Jan-25th 1936. I am wondering if
you would likely to be
In Louisa or I mean Virginia
around about that time
and if you could arrange to
be present or any time
in the near future if so
please write me before Sat
Jan. 25th I have many things
I wish to take up with
With best wishes for
I am yours
J. Rice Perkins
Box 142 Louisa, Va

January 21, 1936

Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia
My dear Mr Perkins:
In Mr Houston’s absence, I am
acknowledging receipt of your letter of Janu-
ary 16. Mr. Houston will be in the mid-west
until about February 4. Your letter will be
brought to his attention when he returns to
the office.
Yours sincerely,

Secretary to Mr. Houston

Report on meeting Jan 25
Send copy of Feb crisis

Louisa County-Schools

February 6, 1936
Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
My dear Mr. Perkins:
I have just returned to town
and found your letter of January 16, advising
that you called a meeting for January 25. Let
me know how the meeting turned out.
You have a copy of my recent
memorandum on how to fight the inequalities in the
budget. If the citizens of Louisa County will
follow that memorandum step by step, they will
get all the relief they are looking for. Of
course, we cannot do anything if they will not
cooperate, because after all, they are the citi-
zens of Louisa County and it is their immediate
Yours sincerely,

Special Counsel

March 6, 1936
Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
My dear Mr. Perkins:
I have your letter of March 2 and am
sorry to hear that you have been sick.
I hope that the citizens will follow
the memorandum I sent you for attacking in-
equality in the school budget. Again, please
explain to the citizens that here is nothing
I can do for them alone, except make speeches
for them. What they need is the actual, con-
tinuous, organized working which experience
has shown brings results.
If you will send me the names and
addresses of the person who were present at
the last meeting, as far as possible, I will
try to get them some further copies of the
memorandum on attacking school budgets. Don’t
pick out simply those who are friendly disposed
to you. Give me all the names so that we
may be sure that a lot of these memoranda will
fall into good hands.
Yours sincerely,

Charles H. Houston

Special Counsel


How much
list do we have
of people in Louisa
Louisa, Virginia

Mr Charles H. Houston
69-Fifth Avenue
New York
My dear Mr. Houston
I received your letter of Feby 6th
I thank you for the same. I would
have answered sooner but I have bin sick all of this month.
no we didnt have the Jan 25th meeting
We are exspecting to meet on the
2nd Saturday (Sat) in Mch the 14th of Mch 1936
at 1. O.clock its another meeting on for
the same date a meeting of Teachers
and Parents could you possible
come and help us make out our
Budget we are already late
I don’t feel well enough to
Write you in detail anyswear as
Soon as you can and if I feel
better I will be able to write
you more in detail
Yours with best wishes
J.Rice Perkins
Box 142 Louisa Va

Louisa, Virginia
March 9th, 1936

Mr. Charles H. Houston, Special Council,
69 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

My Dear Mr. Houston
I have your letter of the 6th. I am glad to report I am better and hope to be Able to meet with our group Sat. I am sorry you couldn’t be with us Sat. as it a good many things I can write you is going on. The Supt & Principal is trying to bring about a discord but I can assure you if you could arrange to come we have enough sub??? Citizens to back you up in fact we won’t be able to make out a budget without assistance from what I can learn the Principal has visited the Supt office every day since you was here and is trying to introduce another plan which some of the other faction claim is a better plan one the hand already tried county wide League “hat in hand.” I can explain to you when I see you. You suggested sending a list of those for memorandiam
P. W. Perkins, Trevilians, Va. R#2 ok
Earnest Jackson, Louisa, Va. ==
Burry Jackson, Trevilian ?
Mr. Henry Crawford, Louisa, Va. R 5
Mr?. Cara Thurston, Louisa, Va. R 5
Mr. Pierce Price, Trevilians, Va R 1
Yours Sincerely,
J Rice Perkins
Box 42
We are expecting a large crowd on the 14 as it’s Teacher’s & Parents Day.

March 10, 1936

Mr J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia
My dear Mr. Perkins
I have your letter of March 9,
enclosing list of citizens of Louisa County.
I am sending copy of the memorandum to them.
I hope you will have a
good meeting on March 14. Please give the
citizens my earnest request that they stick
together, even if it means both sides
have to yield a lot of ground.
Yours sincerely,

Charles H. Houston
Special Counsel


April 14, 1936
69-5th Ave.
New York N.Y.

Dear Mr. Houston,

I am still sick in bed. I have the Rheumatism in both hands. The Dr. say I am run down and it will take some time to build up.

I am still trying to do my best in bed. I am inclosing you a copy of the budget we sent in to the school board the first Thursday in this month. I understand they recommend only three rooms and not anything more. I had not one to do my business for me so I did the best I could here in bed.

I am sending you another list of prospective which you can write if you see fit and encourage them if they desire to send their envelope to Mr. George W. Sanders treasure Trevilians, Va. R#1 before Sat. 18th 2 o’clock at which time we expect to meet. Have twenty payed up and hope to get the rest Sat. Had a letter from Miss Jackson saying to send what money we have. We will after Sat.

Very truly Yours
J. Rice Perkins

April 16, 1936

Mr. J Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Va.

My Dear Mr. Perkins
I am acknowledging your letter of April 14 in the absence of Mr. Houston, who is on tour in the North.
Yours very truly,

LP Secretary to Mr. Houston
April 27, 1936

Mr. J Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louise, Virginis
Dear Mr. Perkins:

I wish to congratulate you on your success in getting a branch of the N.A.A.C.P. organized in Louisa County.
Every effort should be made now, to get a hundred per cont. registration of Negro voters, so that the school authorites may realize that your petition carries weight.
Let me know whenever I can be of assistance to the new branch.
Yours Sincerely

Charles H Houstion
CHH:LB Special Counsel

May 14, 1936

Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Secretary, Louisa County Branch
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia
My Dear Mr. Perkins

I am acknowledging your letter of May 12 in the absence of Mr. Houston who is now in Tennessee, Your letter will be brought to Mr. Your letter will be brought to Mr. Houston’s attention when he returns to New York.
Yours very truly,

Lucille Black
LB Secretary to Mr. Houston

Louisa, Virginia
May , 12th 1936

Mr. Chas. H. Houston, S.A.
69 Fifth Ave, New York, N.Y.

Dear Mr. Houston,
I received your letter of April 27th. Congratulating us on our success in getting a branch of N.A.A.C.P. organized, for which we thank you of course you know without you assistance we couldn’t have done it at this time when every thing is so dull. Now with reference to your assistance you know we are just as helpless as babes now you know what we are working for a High school we haven’t been able to carry out you’re your plans in full but we have ask for what we want of the board but we have met with the same result. We haven’t got any answer. Now we are standing and waiting for the next move. We will certainly need your assistance. Please suggest what you think we should do next. If the associa. cause the board to change it’s way of dealing with us I am sure we will have over 200 members by next fall.
I’m getting better. Can walk around a little. Haven’t go my strength back yet. I hope you are well and with best wishes for better results.
I am yours Sincerely,

J. Rich Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Va.

May 22, 1936

Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Virginia

Dear Mr. Perkins:
My dear Mr. Perkins:

I have just returned to the office from the west and found your letter of May 13,
Announcing that the Board of Education has ignored your request for a high school.

I am writing to Mr. Ransom and asking him to make an investigation of the whole situation. He may not be able to do this before the middle of June, but either way he or someone designated by him will be in the county during the month of June to make an investigation and report upon what further steps should be taken.
Advise the citizens that we are with them to the end in their fight and the fact that we do not get on the spot at once is simply due to the fact that we have so few persons on the staff.
I am also writing to Mr. Hopkins in Richmond.
With best wishes to you and the sincere hope that you have recovered your health, I am,
Very sincerely yours,

Charles H. Houston
CHH:LB Special Counsel

July 17, 1936

Dear Mr. Perkins:

I have written you already today about Mr. Marshall and this is in answer to your letter of July 14, asking about my coming to Louisa.
Unfortunately I am tied up until late fall. I have just gotten back from Missouri where we tried the case against the University of Missouri for excluding a Negro boy from the law school. The Judge has not handed down his decision, but if he decides against us, we are going to appeal. I will be in New York for only a week and then will start for the Pacific coast. I’ll not be back until late fall.
In the meantime, I think Mr. Marshall will be able to do what you want and I suggest that you arrange everything for him during the middle of August.
Sincerely yours,

Special Counsel

Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louia, Va.


July 17
Mr. J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa, Va.

My Dear Mr. Perkins:

Mr. Marshall has forwarded to me copy of your letter of July 10, asking him to come down July 18. As he told you, it was impossible for him to do this because he has been working on the Baltimore County high school case which was just argued on July 10.

Mr. Marshall is also secretary of our National Bar Association which holds its meeting in Pittsburgh the first week of August. That is the reason why he will not be available until after August 10.

If you feel that he can be of service to you after August 10, please advise me at once and I will authorize his coming down to spend some time during the middle of August.

Sincerely yours,
(no signature)
Special Counsel


Members of Louisa School Board
Louisa, Va

We the patrons of the Louisa Training School hereby petition you for the following needs of our School.

Four heated rooms
Free transportation for all pupils
Seats for all pupils
Sanitary toilets
Not less than $100 per month for principal

Mr. Andrew Jackson---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Vigor, Va.
Mr. Robert Overton--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vigor, Va.
Mr. Curtis Duke--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vigor, Va.
Mrs. Fannie Jackson--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vigor, Va.
Mr. Duvall Fleming---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vigor, Va.
Dr. H. P. Cobbs-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Gordonsville, Va.
Rev. Nuton Johnson------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Buckner, Va.
Mr. John Scott------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Fern Cliff, Va.
Rev. H. E. Williams--------------------------------------------------First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Va.
Mr. & Mrs. John Winston----------------------------------------------------------------------------Trevilian, Va.
Mr. & Mrs. Festus Hunter---------------------------------------------------------------------------Trevilian, Va. Mrs. Clara Harris--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Trevilian, Va. Mr. John Henry Waddy-------------------------------------------------------------------------Louisa, Va. R.F.D.
Mr. & Mrs. Leon Minor----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Louisa, Va. Mr. & Mrs. John Holt------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Louisa, Va. Mr. Millir Perkins----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louisa, Va.
Mr. Alex Poindexter-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louisa, Va.
Mr. Edgar Edwards----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kent Store, Va. Miss Daisy Burruss-----------------------------------------------1344-19th St., Washington, D.C. Mr. Richard Grooms--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Poindexter, Va. Mrs. Willie Scott------------------------------------------------------------------------------Bells Crossroads, Va. Mr. & Mrs. Callie Burruss---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Trevilian, Va. Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gilliam------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Louisa, Va. Mr. & Mrs. George Johnson--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louisa, Va. Mrs. Lillie Harris------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louisa, Va. Mr. Eddie Wren------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Louisa, Va. Mrs. Nannie King-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Trevilian, Va.
Louisa, Va.
Box 142

Louisa, Virginia
July 14th, 1936

Mr. Chas. H. Houston
69-Fifth Ave.
New York

My dear Mr. Houston

Your letter of June 24th received and I am sorry you won’t be able to come to see us anytime soon. I have been expecting a letter from Mr. Ronson telling us when he can come to investigate but up to this time we haven’t heard a word. Do you think it will be possible to get either Mr. Marshall or Lovett to investigate? We are anxious to know something and it will greatly help our Branch. We are planning another public meeting on Labor Day. Would it be possible for you to run by and see us then? Now it’s not we didn’t enjoy Mr. Marshall and Lovett but some way you seem to have gotten nearer to us than anybody we have had in our midst. You gave us hope and encouragement and we want all of our group to hear you. We certainly thank you for sending Mr. Marshall and Lovett and for the interest you have taken in us and will try to show our appreciation by cooperating and helping you to put the Program over.

Your Sincerely,

J. Rice Perkins
Louisa, Va.

August 10, 1936

Thurgood Marshall, Esq.
4 East Redwood Street
Baltimore, Maryland

My dear Mr. Marshall:

The president of our Louisa County, Virginia Branch writes as follows:

“The Secretary of our Branch wrote for Mr. Marshall to come and begin action for a high school in our county. Mr. Marshall is to let us know where he would come after the 10th.

“The School Board has now promised to build four more rooms on to our present building and give us a standard high school this year.

“I think under the circumstances, it would be unwise to start legal action.

“Please inform Mr. Marshall as I haven’t his address at hand.”

Sincerely yours,

Lucille Black
Executive Assistant,
Department of Branches

Louisa County Branch
Louisa, VA
Box 114
Trevilians, VA

Office of NAACP
69 Fifth Ave.
New York City


I have before me letters from Sec. White, also Mr. Wilkins.

Please allow me to say that I will take up these matters at our regular meeting Aug. 15th and will continue the effort to secure the 100 subscriptions to the crisis.

The Secretary of our Board wrote for Mr. Marshall to come and begin action for a High School in our County. Mr. Marshall is to let us know where he would come after the 10th.

The School Board has now promised to build four more rooms on to our present building and give us a standard High School this year.

I think under the circumstances it would be unwise to start legal action.

Please inform Mr. Marshall as I haven’t his address at hand. I am notifying the Secretary J. Rice Perkins.


Very Sincerely Yours,

J. L. Wilkerson, President

August 10, 1936

Mr. J. L. Wilkerson
President, Louisa County Branch
Box 114
Treviians, VA

My dear Mr. Wilkerson:

We have your recent letter and in accordance with your instructions, we have notified Mr. Marshall that the Branch will not need his services at the present time.

We trust that the School Board will make good its promise to provide high school facilities for Negro children.

Yours sincerely,

Lucille Black
Executive Assistant,
Department of Branches

Louisa, Virginia
August 13th, 1936

Mr. Thurgood Marshall
Baltimore, Maryland

Dear Mr. Marshall:

In your July 18th letter you promised me you would write me about August 10th the date you thought you would be able to come and investigate for us. I so informed our people up to this time I haven’t heard anything. Will you kindly write me if we can look for you? And what time. We are losing out by delay, which I will explain to you when I see you. I understand the Board is going to make arrangements to get $25000.00 of course it isn’t supposed to be known they are spending $25,000.00 on the white school here now and out of the $25,000, $15,000 for the white school here, $10000.00 for another while school and $5,000.00 for us, which it will take $5000.00 to bring buses for us. They dropped the only college man we had , kept the principal. We have with commercial certificate don’t intend to give us anything and are laboring under the opinion we are not going to do anything.

Sincerely, yours,
J. Rice Perkins

P.S. Our Branch is going to have a meeting in the lower end of the County Labor Day and had hoped to have had you for that day. And we thought we would have been able to have gotten your consent when you came to investigate. Time is getting short now, and we want to advertise so we can have a better crowd. Can you get me an answer by the 15th? If so, please write me if we can have your service for that day? We expect to have out hundreds who don’t know anything about the good work you all are doing. I had a letter from the National Office suggesting you and we ask them to communicate with you for us. Now, please try and get me an answer by the 15th. That’s our Branch meeting day. You know what delay means to our people. I knew they weren’t going to do anything, please write me your answer if possible by the 15th.


J. Rice Perkins
Box 142, Louisa, Va.


August 14th, 1936

J. Rice Perkins
Box 142
Louisa , Va.

Letter received today. Had understood your problems adjusted. Will arrange to come down to investigate. Try to postpone your Labor Day meeting. Almost impossible for me to get there at that time previous engagement. Arrange for me to come to investigate there next Wed or Wed after.

Thurgood Marshall

Charge Paid – Thurgood Marshall

Day Letter

August 14, 1936

Mr. Walter Wright
Secretary, NAACP
69th Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y.

Dear Walter,

Enclosed please find copy of letter from J. Rice Perkins of Louisa, Virginia and my day letter in reply thereto. I had a letter from Lucille Black quoting letter from the Louisa Branch that the school question was temporarily settled. Please advise me as to whether I should go down there, and what arrangements will be made for my expenses.

Ever sincerely,

Thurgood Marshall

Louisa County (G – 207)
1919 – applied for charter, granted a charter 1919

J. Rice Perkins to Walter White, August 17, 1933
• “I saw in the press that there was some contention on the number of lynchings in 1932.
I am sure that you failed to get one from our county, Louisa, in the 8th Congressional
District the district represented by Mr Smith who is so hurt about the cry against
Virginia justice. This young man was murdered the 2nd Monday in June 1932. About
a col damsel (colored damsel) it need some investigation. I learn when it was found
out that he was murdered and murdered in town and hauled out and suspicion pointed
to certain people. It didn’t proceed and farther if you wish to learn the facts and want
to establish a branch here. I think you would do well to make us a visit. I am
suggesting the 1st Saturday in September 1933 as a day promising results. The County
Wide League will be holding a meeting and you likely would be meeting our people
from all sections of the county.” - asks White to come
• “As far as the investigation is concerned it won’t be in vain, besides the possibility of
organizing a branch here. We have about 6 or 7 thousand colored people in the
county and have had a branch here once.”

April 1935 - charter applied for with 54 people

J. Rice Perkins to Charles H. Houston, March 30, 1936
• Received his letter on Sunday
• Had a meeting on the 28th and 17 people paid and joined up

J. Rice Perkins to Charles H.Houston, May 26, 1936
• “I wish to thank you for your assurance of help for a high school for our people in
your May 22nd letter. Our Branch decided to have a public meeting of the 20th of
June to have the public informed of the good of the association and to increase our

J. Rice Perkins to Charles H. Houston, June 21, 1936
• Leon Ransom supposed to make an investigation of the situation in Louisa County
• Also asks if the NAACP making an investigation in Gordonsville

J. Rice Perkins to Catherine Freeland, secretary to Walter White, August 2, 1936
Thurgood Marshall supposed to make an investigation of schools in Virginia in mid-

J. Rice Perkins to Walter White, October 19, 1936
• writing to him about trouble with branch in Louisa County
• “We have had a branch here each time it came it came through my influence. It was
killed the first time by the crowd that promise to kill it this time and are on their way.
The Preacher who took the money out of the treasury for himself and had himself sent
to Cleveland, Ohio, to see his brother at the expense of the branch when there wasn’t a
single delegate from any other branch from Virginia. Has his application into join
again, do we have to take him? The President of the Branch knows all about him and
not only that crooked business but other business in the county just as crooked but
insist on taking him and the President is doing all he can trying to keep the National
Association from helping us to get a school.
• “He is in alliance with the Superintendant and Principal of the School to prevent us
from having a high school. He came to me and trued (tried) to get me to write the
Association not to send a representative here that we could get what we wanted
without your assistance and I knew as much about what was going on as he did and
our chances, I listened, and carried him to another member so I could have proof and
refused, I learned afterwards that he wrote the Association and told them something of
the same nature and received an answer from which I don’t know what you wrote
because I haven’t seen it but he carried it to the superintendent of schools to show him
you all wasn’t going to do anything for us.”
• “Now before the branch was organized we couldn’t get a promise all we could get was
we isn’t able. Since we organized if we could have kept this double crossing work out
we would have had a building up and the school in operation as long as they didn’t
know they were doing all they could to get us a school started. Even got $160.00 of
Jeane fund to supplement principal salary. Now the branch wasn’t in working
condition. We got 8 citizens together and sent in a budget for what we wanted in
April. They didn’t know whether the branch sent it or not and as long as they didn’t
know they were trying to comply but when they got us divided and captured the
President is anything doing we are worse off than we were before.”
• “I don’t think you should lend your aid until you know the facts now you can send any
one you wish to investigate and I think I will be able to prove to you I am right now
they are even using Mr. Lovett who came here on Oct 7th in a big hurry and went
back and sent in a bill for eight dollars and some odd cents that was to put me in the
bad (?) say I was making bills against the Branch without their consent the bill I
haven’t seen although I am secretary. It was sent to the President who refused to let
me see the same. Now you know why we can’t possibly get any where under these
conditions. Please send someone to investigate if you think I am not making true
statements of facts and I think I can prove what I am saying is true besides much
more. I suggest having it done before the election of officers which will be Saturday
before the 2nd Sunday in November and I would suggest Mr. Hopkins (J. Byron
Hopkins) He is near us and know all about the conditions here having appeared
before the board with a teacher who was refused reappointment on the advice of the
Principal who conferred false charges against her, and put out another teacher on his
account and all college graduates are put out on his recommendations. He got a
commercial science degree from a little school in Kentucky not much more than a high
and not credited if he know he can’t teach, and I will have either the pupil or the
parent to prove not a single child get anything from him.
• “I could write more but I hope you will give me a chance to prove now. I had to send
my child away this year because we couldn’t get a school and I can name you many
more and she had to go over what she was supposed to have gotten under him, the
Principal and he say its no use to bother about him his child is only 9 months old and
20 years will do for him for a High School.
• William Perkins writes Rice, October 23, 1936 and tells him he will be coming in
• J. L. Wilkerson, President , Trevilians, Va
• George Sanders, Treasurer, Trevilians, Va
• Rev. Newton Johnson, V-P, Buckner, Va

J.L.Wilkerson to Edward Lovett, October 19, 1936
• hoped to enclose his payment for his bill of $8 – Wilkerson presented the bill at his
meeting and the committee reported favorably, but the secretary “strenuously objected
to payment on the grounds, he said, that you were not asked to come,”
• We know, as I stated in my letter as of October 2, that the Secretary did write for
legal aid without my knowledge or any members so far as I know, Yet he opposed
payment upon the ground that you were not sent for.”
• sent Lovett a copy of the letter Wilkerson received from the secretary of the branch
J.L. Wilkerson to Charles H. Houston, November 19, 1936
• The President of the Louisa County Teacher Association has asked me to meet that
Association in its next meeting. If I can get approval and advice on the matter, I
wish to offer the teaches this: that if they join our Branch 100% we will take up the
teachers salary with the School Board next year. In the county, white teachers holding
the same certificate are paid about 33% more than colored.
• Thurgood Marshall to J.L. Wilkerson, November 23, 1936
o “We agree that you should cooperate with the teachers association and tell
them that we are filing a case on equalization of teachers’ salaries in Maryland
and will take up the matter in Virginia at some later date, possibly next year’
and we are not certain to bring it in Louisa county, but we will bring it in some
county in Virginia and any case brought will benefit all teachers in Virginia.
The teachers in Louisa county will benefit whether the case is brought in their
county or some other county.”
J. Rice Perkins to William Pickens, November 7, 1936
• Talks about “thieves and traitors” in the branch, especially the treasurer who is
known to embezzle funds and mishandle money.
• The Principal of the Louisa so-called Training school that call itself teaching High
• School subjects is a man the school board put all confidence in so you may know
what he is after. We got Mr. Houston to come here and interest himself in us. He
visited the Superintendent every day for one month, and had two teachers put out of
the school because he thought they were after the Principalship.

J. Rice Perkins to Charles Houston, November 7, 1936
• the branch is having an election of officers and he is supposes he won’t be secretary of the branch any longer. “They are ganging up those who promised not to let us organized and if we organized to break it up.”
• talking about the school issue again – “I am losing interest. We can’t win that way. I had to send my child away to Washington and others had to send there’s away we are worse off than before.”
J. Rice Perkins to Walter White, December 14, 1936.
• writing about the trouble in the branch – talks about formation of the branch – about 22 years ago, he wrote for information about forming a branch and “was the cause of organizing a branch of the association here in Louisa.” – it functioned for a while until a preacher, named A Thurston, got sent to Cleveland as a delegate to the NAACP Conference but went and visited his brother instead. He also squandered other money in the Branch treasury.
• This Rev. Thurston rejoined the new branch on the insistence of the Branch President. Perkins accuses the president of keeping $1.50 out of the treasury.
• Also, the President evidently called a meeting on Saturday before the 2nd Sunday in November to elect officers when the regular meeting was time enough to elect. “He conspired with Mr. J. W. Robinson, principal of the Louisa Training School. After nominating the Principal for the key position on the board and nomination himself for President – had the principal conduct the election and 2 more votes in the ballot box than voters for the president. …We are going to have a meeting Sat. and if we get enough votes can we dismiss them? Please answer, they promised when we organized they were going to either kill it or take charge of it, they are really killing it because we expect a showdown Saturday. If they have a majority who endorse such. I am sure those who want to do are going to quit.
• Pickens writes him that the officers against whom someone complains have an opportunity to defend himself, and the dismissal must be approved by the National office.
J. L. Wilkerson to Juanita Jackson, February 1, 1937
“Heavy rains and impassable roads have greatly hindered our progress for January but we are still hoping to make a workable branch in Louisa County.”
J. L. Wilkerson to Walter White, February 24, 1937
“Our Branch of Louisa County is working in perfect harmony, so far as I know, with the exception of one dissenter and so persistent is he that we can never finish our business at our meeting. Out former Secretary Mr. J Rice Perkins claims to hold
• serious charges against ther Branch and officers, and that he has been wronged and a multiplicity of other things. We asked him to bring his complaints before the branch, he said he would not. We asked him to meet the executive board, he refused. We asked him what were his charges, he refused to tell stating that he had his own time set to tell his charges.”
• “With his approval, we appointed a special committee, consisting of his brother-in-law, first cousin, and a minister, which committee was instructed to right anything that he claimed unfair or wrong. When they met he told the committee that he could not trust their honesty, or words to that effect. We want Mr. Perkins satisfied and I am making this proposition with the approval of many members of the executive committee (and I feel quite sure all will agree): That Mr Perkins present his grievances to the National Office in writing, a copy of the same to the Branch. And if we do not give him perfect justice and right any and all wrongs we will submit our answers to his complaints and thereafter be governed wholly in the matter by your office or Mr. Pickens.”
• W.W. wrote Mr. Pickens suggesting in the interest of harmony he submit to the Branch in writing any charge he might have.
• Perkins writes to White, March 9, 1937, saying that it would take too much time to write out his grievances and that they should send someone to investigate.
79 members in 1936
J. Rice Perkins to Charles H. Houston, April 13, 1937
• going to have a mass meeting and asking Houston to speak (CHH will be out of town and can’t come) – “They have taken the Association away from us entirely. Don’t even know when the meetings [are]”
Year end report for 1937
• had 12 executive meetings. 16 branch meeting, and 3 mass meetings.
• “Secured a four room addition to the Louisa Training School with promise from School Board to bring the school up to a standard high as quickly as possible.”

Election of officers, November 1937
P – J. L. Wilkerson; V-P – N. M. Johnson; - Ella M. Hunter; T – Berry Jackson

J. L. Wilkerson to Walter White, December 31, 1937.
“I think our Branch has to overcome all oppositions and is headed to a successful drive in 1938.”

J. L Wilkerson to Roy Wilkins, June 14, 1938.
“we had no meeting last month on account of excessive rain.”

Ella M. Hunter to William Pickens, October 11, 1938.
“there has been a falling off of the meetings. It rained so much last time I did not attempt to go.”

Yearly report for branch for 1938 - only 2 executive meetings and 2 mass meetings

Officers elected for 1938: P: Rev. O. S. Robinson; G. D. Parrish, V-P; Ella M. Hunter, Sec; Berry Jackson, Treas.
I think Wilkerson moved to Washington, D. C.

O. S. Robinson to Frederic Morrow, March 16, 1939.
problems of our branch
• “our great problem is getting new members into the branch, which we find it very hard to interest the people in the work”
• “trying to get them to see the important of the ballot, or to vote”
• “our financial needs”
• “this request was delayed because of the weather, which made it impossible for the branch to have a meeting, on their regular day.”
O. S. Robinson to William Pickens, March 30, 1939
• “Prof. J. W. Robinson of Louisa is in sympathy with the work but cannot do what he would wish on account of the fear of losing his position. Following persons are interested, with a work of encouragement from you, might get something done.”
• “I want to organize a Junior Council to the Branch, but the very ones who are in a position to help most are afraid of their jobs: teachers, supervisors and agents.”

O. S. Robinson to Thurgood Marshall, November 27, 1939
Had a meeting of the branch on October 28, 1939c –had a meeting at Buckner for the county wide membership drive – through the aid of Tinsley in Richmond, had Dr. W. L. Ransome come and speak at the meeting

Yearly report for branch for 1939 – 3 exec, 7 branch, 2 mass meetings
“Called supervisors attention to a restroom needed for colored in the court house. They have one for a white, keep it locked, said it would be looked after real soon.”




Louisa County Historical Society with the permission of the National Office of the NAACP



This transcription was done with the permission of the National Office of the NAACP. All questions of use referred to that office.