Home For Wayward Girls

Her name was Janie Porter.  She was born just as the American Civil War came to a close.  Growing up in Macon, Georgia, Janie was an exemplary student, eventually graduating with honors from Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.  Janie took her teaching degree seriously, accepting a position in rural Georgia.  Five years later, she met and married Harris Barnett, a Virginia businessman.

Disturbed by the plight of African American children, who grew up in squalid conditions, often ending up in jail at the age of 7 or 8, Janie determined to do something about the problem, which she viewed as a moral crisis.  She began a fund-raising campaign throughout the state of Virginia.  The money was used to build what was then called “a home for wayward girls” – the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls.  In today’s world, it would be referred to as a juvenile detention facility.

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