T.C. Walker’s legacy spread far beyond Gloucester’s boundaries

Elsa Verbyla - Posted on Aug 14, 2019 - 01:40 PM

The influence of Thomas Calhoun Walker, whose legacy in his home county of Gloucester continues to be honored 65 years after his death, spread far beyond the boundaries of Tidewater Virginia.

Efforts are underway in mountainous Bath County to find a path for restoration of its own T.C. Walker School, a Rosenwald School in the community of Millboro. Like other facilities built with help from Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, it was constructed early in the 20th century for African-American students.  

Walker (1861-1953), a Gloucester County native and lawyer, was born a slave and was instrumental in establishing educational facilities in Gloucester County for black children. His reputation spread throughout the state, to the point that while he was still alive, the new school in Millboro was named in his honor.

Photo: Thomas Calhoun Walker

(file photo)

Thomas Calhoun Walker (file photo)


Richard L. Armstrong, president of the Bath County Historical Society, said there is no known connection between Walker and Bath County. “I think that the school was named after Walker in recognition of his apparent thirst for education, and work for civil rights,” Armstrong said.

He said that Bath County’s Walker School, now privately owned, was built in 1929-1930, and consisted of two rooms, a library and a kitchen; it closed in 1965. A state highway marker notes the role of this historic structure.