Della Hayden to be honored with marker placement

Published 11:05 am Thursday, August 22, 2019


The ceremony to honor early 20th-century educator Della Irving Hayden and her accomplishments in Franklin and Southampton County will take place starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, in Apostolic Faith Church of God Church, 680 Oak St., Franklin. Following a program, there will be a short-distance walk to the unveiling of a highway marker.

Della I. Hayden, a prominent early 20th- century educator in Franklin and Southampton County, will be remembered with a ceremony and highway marker starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, in Apostolic Faith COG, 680 Oak St., Franklin.

As noted by Alfreda Harris, a retired local judge involved with the event, Hayden was a Hampton Institute classmate of Booker T. Washington, who taught thousands of students in Southampton County and Franklin before she organized the Franklin Normal and Industrial Institute in 1904.

“By 1916, Hayden had buildings and bought land to run a small farm and a dormitory to board dozens of women students,” Harris stated in a press release. “In 1953, Hayden High School was named in her honor in a location within yards of her original wooden school building.”

She also pointed out that Hayden had been named one of “The 15 Most Influential People In Western Tidewater History” in the Progress magazine, which was published by The Tidewater News in 2016.

Two organizations are behind the upcoming recognition: Franklin City Public Schools and the Hayden Group. They have succeeded in getting the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to approve a highway marker about Hayden.

“The Hayden Group strives to keep the legacy of Mrs. Della Hayden alive in our community so that future generations will have an understanding of the effort and sacrifices that were made to ensure their present freedom, and a conscious hope for their future,” stated Harris, who added that the organization

will be joined by the 1969 Hayden High School graduating class, which is celebrating its 50-year reunion.

“This event is free and open to the public, “ she continued. “You do not have to be a Hayden graduate to learn about this phenomenal woman and the impact she has had upon the history of all of Western Tidewater.”

For more information, contact Jessica Grant Banks at 252-382-7804.