The Resource Agency history
- Agency history
- Southside Virginia Training Center
- African Americans -- Mental health -- Virginia
- Mental health services -- Virginia
- People with mental disabilities -- Institutional care -- Virginia
- Mentally handicapped -- Virginia
- Petersburg State Colony
- State government records -- Virginia
- Petersburg Training School and Hospital
- Mentally handicapped children -- Education -- Virginia
- African Americans -- Virginia
- Mental retardation facilities -- Virginia
- Biographical or historical data
- During the earliest years of mental health treatment in Virginia, those with mental illness and/or mental retardation were grouped together at the state hospitals. However, during the first few decades of the 20th century an effort was made to move those with mental retardation to separate facilities. In March 1938, the Virginia General Assembly authorized the establishment of a colony for African-American feeble-minded people in Petersburg. The act established the colony as a state institution separate from Central State Hospital, the state hospital specifically for black citizens. Although it was a separate institution, the colony operated on the same grounds as the hospital. Known as the Petersburg State Colony, the new facility was given land located in Prince George County (later partly in Dinwiddie County as well), and assigned the task of admitting mostly younger patients with the propensity for academic and vocational training and future employment. The colony was advised to give preference to "indigent colored children who would be most likely to receive benefit from colony care and training." This often meant that older mentally retarded people were refused treatment, as were those younger patients who showed signs of aggression or other problems that would make them difficult to train.
- In 1954, the Virginia General Assembly voted to change the institution's name from the Petersburg State Colony to the Petersburg Training School and Hospital. The name was changed again in 1971 to the Southside Virginia Training Center. The facility moved from its original buildings in the early 1960s, but still remains part of the Central State Hospital campus. It continues to specialize in providing services for Virginians with various levels of mental retardation. As a side note, in 1960 the land and structures formally known as the Petersburg Training School and Hospital were transferred to the College of William and Mary for the establishment of a two-year branch campus. In 1961, Richard Bland College opened its doors to students. The original hospital buildings remained, but were converted into classrooms and offices, many of which are still in use.
- Cataloging source
- Citation source
- Salmon, John S., comp. A GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1985
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