On July 5, 1905, the Spotsylvania Sunday School Union was formed. This Union was comprised of all the Black Baptist churches in the county, which at that time included: Bethlehem, Beulah, Branch Fork, First New Hope, Little Mine Road, Mount Hope, Mount Olive, Mount Zion, Piney Branch, Second New Hope, Sylvannah, and Zion Hill. Representatives from all of these churches met at St. Luke's Baptist Church and named themselves the Spotyslvania Sunday School Union (SSSU). A strong and united coalition of African American churches was organized and this group of lay and religious leaders elected the following officers:
The First SSSU Officers
President: John J. Wright
First Vice President: Homer J. Combs
Second Vice President: J. F. Walker
Secretary: Cora Jackson Wright
Corresponding Secretary: Henry Levi
Treasurer: Virgil G. Williams
One order of business on that very warm July day was to take up a collection for building a future school and when counted, the total of that very promising collection tallied $1.25. The mission of the SSSUnion was and continues to be to provide Christian and formal education for Black youth.
In 1908 the Sunday School Union president purchased 158 acres of land at the cost of three dollars per acre near Snell, Virginia, presently located three miles south of the Spotsylvania Courthouse. Here, Alfred Fairchild, a county carpenter, contractor and builder, began to construct a school building.
In the 1920's, the first black elementary schools were formed in Spotsylvania County. The elementary school was established to serve the Stubbs area was located directly across from the Branch Fork Baptist Church. Stubbs school was built between 1934-1934.
OUR BIBLICAL FOUNDATION
New King James Version (NKJV)
So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
SSSU Historical Timeline
1905 - SSSU formally established in July
1909 - The SSSU purchased 158 acres for $3 an acre. Land was purchased near Snell, about three miles form Spotsylvania Courthouse.
1910-1912 - Alfred Fairchild, county contractor, began construction on the building.
1913 - First classroom opens with Mrs. Sadie Coates Combs bringing 47 scholars in grades 1-7 into the new building, the Snell Training School.
1922 - The Snell Training School was completed at the cost of $7,500. This building was constructed as a two-story white framed building containing four classrooms, 12 bedrooms, and four basement rooms for cooking and eating. Mr. John J. Wright served as the school's Principal.
1927 - In October of 1927, the school's cornerstone was laid and the building was officially dedicated.
1931 - John J. Wright passed and was interred at Beulah Baptist Church in Arcadia, Virginia.
1941 - Snell Training School was mysteriously destroyed by fire. The Spotsylvania Sunday School Union donated 20 acres of land and $20,000 of insurance money to the Spotyslvania County School Board for the purpose of building a new school to serve the "Negro" youth of the county.
1942 - John J. Wright High School opened in a temporary group of buildings.
1950 - In October, a ground breaking ceremony was held for John J. Wright Consolidated School.
1951 - In July, the cornerstone was laid.
1952 - 1953 - The present building opened was was dedicated as the John J. Wright Consolidated School with the purpose of providing education for all of the county's Negro children in grades 1-12. Mr. A. L. Scott was the school's principal and Mr. C. Melvin Snow was the superintendent.
1968 - Spotyslvania County Schools integrated and John J. Wright School, formerly known as the John J. Wright Consolidated School, began hosting the county's entire sixth and seventh grade populations.
1978 - The school became know as the John J. Wright Intermediate School, with the closing of Spotyslvania Junior High School and the opening of Battlefield Intermediate School. It now houses grades, six through eight.
2005 - The SSSU celebrated its 100th Anniversary
2013 – The SSSU established a website presence
September 1, 2013.
2015 – The SSSU celebrated the 110th Anniversary and sold 100 acres of timber and replanted the land with new trees.
2016 - The park site building was renovated and enclosed. The SSSU rededicated the park site building in honor of the late Trustee Booker T. Ross and established the Ross-Terrell Volunteer Award and Spirit of King Award Program.
2017 - Held Our First Heritage Day Celebration at the Park Site on September 23, 2017.
2019 - Held the First Pastor's Hall of Fame on March 30, 2019 at the Hospitality House.
2020-Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the John J. Wright School highway marker at its meeting on June 20, 2019. Activities limited by the pandemic through the present.
Past Presidents of the SSSU
Mr. John J. Wright Rev. Charles Wormley
W. S. Broaddus Rev. Lloyd Fox
Sis. Sadie Combs Johnson Rev. Otis Kay
Rev. Parish D. Freeman Rev. Louis T. Jackson
Rev. J. R. Despot Rev. Gilbert Garcia
Rev. Morris J. Walker Sister Cleo Coleman
The Spotsylvania Sunday School Union has a rich and God blessed legacy. The union continues to work with its core churches (Bethlehem, Beulah, Branch Fork, First New Hope, Little Mine Road, Mount Hope, Mount Olive, Mount Zion, Piney Branch, Second New Hope, Sylvannah, and Zion Hill) and like-minded organizations, to promote Christian education and community-building. The SSSU meets quarterly on a rotating basis to fellowship at one of the twelve original churches and its Executive Board meets at the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center on the first Saturdays monthly (normally) at 10:00 a.m.
Contact information for the twelve SSSU churches is available
by clicking the arrow
Mrs. Cleo Coleman, Past President & Ms. Deborah Tibbs, Treasurer
Bishop Anthony Jones