The West Virginia State Teachers’ Association, 1891–1954, was the professional organization for the state’s black teachers. At a time when West Virginia Education Association membership was closed to them, African-American teachers began the WVSTA to facilitate their professional development and advance the education of black youth. Organized by H. B. Rice, Byrd Prillerman, and P.B. Burbridge, the first meeting of the Association was held at Simpson Methodist Church, Charleston, on Thanksgiving Day, 1891.
The State Teachers’ Association met annually and published a journal titled The Bulletin. Membership was open to all persons engaged with school work, including elementary and secondary teachers and college faculty. The day-to-day activities of the Association were handled by the executive secretary, under the direction of a board of directors and officers.
In 1907, black teachers from northern areas such as Fairmont, Clarksburg, Elkins, Grafton, and Buckhannon formed a separate organization called the Northern Teachers’ Association. No information exists as to why the northern faction was started, but it is generally surmised that geography and the personalities involved played a major part in its founding. This organization ended in 1923, and black teachers were reunited in the WVSTA.
The combination of the black and white teacher associations came with the integration of the schools. A unification ceremony held at the Municipal Auditorium, in Charleston, October 1, 1954, merged the West Virginia State Teachers’ Association and the West Virginia Education Association.
Written by Ancella R. Bickley
Bickley, Ancella R. History of the West Virginia State Teachers' Association. Washington: National Education Association, 1979.
Sheeler, J. Reuben. The First Ten Years of the West Virginia State Teachers' Association. Drain-Jordan Library, West Virginia State University, Institute
Whiting, Gregory W. History of the West Virginia State Teachers' Association. Drain- Jordan Library, West Virginia State University, Institute