William G. Price (1868-1941), born and raised in Albemarle County, became a pioneering educator. In 1885, one of his sisters wrote to the principal of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute asking if he would consider admitting two of her brothers to the school, proposing that they work part-time in order to defray the cost of their admission. That fall William, then 17 years old, traveled with his brother 160 miles east to attend the Institute, graduating after five years at Hampton.
During the 1890-91 school year Price returned home to Albemarle County to teach at a small black school in Cobham Depot. Deciding that he needed more education, Price traveled to Massachusetts to attend the Westfield State Normal School, an Institute with ties to Hampton. Several years later he returned to the south to teach grammar and arithmetic at the Tuskegee Institute.
In 1896, Price received an offer to teach at a secondary school in Gloucester County, 40 miles from Hampton. Price served as Principal of the Gloucester Agricultural and Industrial High School for thirty-four years. The school was one of the earliest black high schools in Virginia, opening in 1888. Under Price's leadership, the school was recognized as one of the most modern and academically superior secondary schools of its time, with students enrolling from many parts of the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, and West Virginia. At its peak, in 1925, the school enrolled 159 students. In contrast to Booker T. Washington's emphasis on agricultural and industrial curriculum, Price promoted education in the liberal arts, including electives in Latin, German, civics, economics, physical geography, and readings by African-American authors.
In 1908, Price married fellow educator Carrie Elizabeth Steele (1872-1938) an 1892 graduate of the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, a teacher-training school. Steele served as a teacher, accountant, and eventually assistant principal at the Gloucester School. Their three children carried on the family's commitment to education, becoming variously a cardiologist, a teacher, and a college president. Declining enrollments and financial support led to the closure of the Gloucester Agricultural & Industrial Institute in 1933, one year after the Prices retired.
Price's home place stands in Cappahosic, adjacent to the former school site.
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