This post originally appeared on The Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation.
Here stood the Nansemond Collegiate Institute, founded in 1890 as the Nansemond Industrial Institute by Rev. William W. Gaines to provide local black children with an education, because free public schools were closed to them. Eventually the institute offered elementary, secondary and normal school courses of instruction. In 1927 a public school for black residents was opened; competition for students and a series of disastrous fires forced the institute to close in 1939.Department of Conservation and Historic Resources 1988