Schoolhouse at Bremo
This photograph depicts the interior of the schoolhouse where enslaved children were educated at Bremo, John Hartwell Cocke's early nineteenth-century plantation in Fluvanna County. The school's original wooden benches are seen here, as well as various pedagogical tools: an abacus, a reading chart, animal posters featuring letters, and a copy of the Ten Commandments broken into syllables. A poster leaning on the mantel urges students to "Be Content With such Thing[s] As Ye Have." Cocke hired teachers from the North to educate the slaves until Virginia outlawed the practice; at other times Cocke's second wife, Louisa Holmes Cocke, served as teacher.
This photograph was made by Frances Benjamin Johnston, a well-known photographer from Washington, D.C., who documented historic buildings and gardens throughout the South late in the 1920s and the 1930s as part of the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South.
Citation: Frances Benjamin Johnston Photographic Collection, Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, University of Virginia Libraries, Charlottesville, Va.