Constance E. Braxton is a graduate of John J Wright Consolidated School (’58), and a retired elementary school principal. She is a graduate of Virginia State College (now University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Virginia. She began her career as a high school history and social studies teacher. Deciding she needed a change, she had the opportunity to teach at the elementary level. She fell in love with second graders and found her niche in working with young children. Her work in helping to develop the kindergarten program for the school system offered an opportunity to earn graduate credit which she used in pursuing a graduate degree. She was selected as a teacher assigned to open a new open-space school in the county. She moved from teaching to administration becoming an assistant principal for two years before being assigned as principal, a position she held for 23 years, including opening a new school before retiring in 2000 after 36 years as an educator. Constance is an avid reader. She enjoys biographies, history, historical fiction, poetry, children’s books and collects books by and about African Americans. She enjoys traveling and still has more places to visit on her bucket list.
Since early childhood, she has been active in her church (Sylvannah Baptist) currently serving as Financial Secretary and Program Coordinator as well as other as needed committees. She is a member and past president of the Fredericksburg Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; President of the John J Wright Alumni Association, Financial Secretary of the Spotsylvania County Afro-American Teachers Association. She is also an associate of the A. L. Bennett and Son Funeral Home, Inc. A native and resident of Spotsylvania County, Constance has a deep interest in preserving the history of African Americans in the county. She has been inspired to discover the stories/history of individuals and families of people she knew as a child as well as her own family’s history.
Constance has been involved with the museum since its inception. She was a member of the committee appointed by the school superintendent to determine future use of the John J Wright School building. She was also a member of the committee to develop the museum and worked closely with the curator, Ms. Terry Miller to collect documents and artifacts and provide historical context and integrity of exhibits. She had previously worked with Ms. Miller in researching the book, “African Americans in Spotsylvania County.”
Constance is a Charter member of the Museum Board of Directors, currently serving as Treasurer. As a product/recipient, she has a personal interest in preserving and sharing the history of African American education in Spotsylvania County and its impact from the early years through integration. Educated during the “separate but equal” era, students who left John J Wright were successful in varied professions, the military and support their families. It is vital that the stories and history of those who experienced this time period be documented, recorded and shared so that they are not lost. The museum recognizes the contributions of the founders who envisioned and pursued education for themselves and their children, the parents, teachers, principals – all who played a role in the history of Spotsylvania County. Her goal is to expand the resources of the museum to fulfill its mission to demonstrate how the history of all citizens, especially African Americans, contributed to the richness of Spotsylvania County. It is our responsibility to honor the past while focusing on the future.