A Guide to the Alfred William Harris Papers Harris, Alfred William 1981-17

A Guide to the Papers of Alfred William Harris

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives
Collection Number 1981-17 o.s.


Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University

Special Collections and Archives
Johnston Memorial Library
P.O. Box 9406
Virginia State University
Petersburg, Virginia 23806
Phone: (804) 524-5749
Fax: (804) 524-6959
Email: ledwards@vsu.edu
URL: http://www.vsu.edu/library/index.htm

© 2002 By the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University.

Funding: Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Lucious Edwards, Jr.

Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University
Collection number
Alfred William Harris Papers 1879,1887
Alfred William Harris
Law Degree and photograph of the founder of Virginia State University. Mr.Harris Esquire, was also a member of the General Assembly of Virginia.

Administrative Information


There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Alfred William Harris, 1981-17, Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA.

Biographical/Historical Information

Alfred W. harris was born free in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1854, the son of Henry Harris. Alfred W. Harris was a member of the very large family of Harrises in the counties of Fairfax and Prince William. They were free in these counties as early as the year 1776.

Harris attended the public schools in Alexandria, Virginia. He studied law privately in the office of a African American lawyer, George W. Mitchell, and finally enrolled in the law department of Howard University , where he graduated in 1881. Alfred Harris moved to Petersburg, Virginia in the 1870's. Here he became involoved in local politics and began his practice of law.

In 1881 Harris was elected to the House of Delegate Representing Dinwiddie County. Mr. Harris served in the house until 1888. In 1882 Alfred harris presented the bill chartering the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute, now Virginia state university. Mr. Harris was a very active in a number civic and social organizations in and around the city of Petersburg.

Mr.Harris served as the first secretary of the board of visitors for Virginia State University and was later Principal of the John A. Dix School in Dinwidde.

Scope and Content Information

Two items, each in itself documenting the accomplishments and achievements of an African American male activist, politician, and educator, during the first years after the abolishment of the institution of slavery in Virginia.


Series I. Printed One Law Degree.

Series II. Photograph the African American members of the Virginia State and the General Assembly of Virginia in 1887.

Contents List

Series I: Printed
  • Box-folder 1:1
    Law Degree (Howard University) 1881
Series II: Photograph
  • Box-folder 1:2
    Photograph c.a. 1887