On December 29, 1863, the Educational Association of Virginia was founded at a statewide meeting held in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Petersburg. Its mission: “By all suitable means, to promote the educational welfare of Virginia and of the whole country.” Several name changes later, the Virginia State Teachers Association in 1925 formally became the Virginia Education Association.
Throughout its history, VEA has fought for sound instructional practices, adequate textbooks and resources for students, and compensation and benefits to attract the best into careers in Virginia public schools.
Following merger with the predominantly black Virginia Teachers Association in 1967, the merged Union has played a key role in advocating for educational equity in Virginia, and four African-Americans have been elected president: Mary Hatwood Futrell (1976-78), Cheri James (1996-2000), Princess Moss (2005-2008) and James J. Fedderman (2020- ), who became the first Black male elected to lead the Association.
During the 1990s and continuing to the present time, VEA has been a major force for the betterment of public education, advocating for and winning significant state funding increases for schools, boosting instructional support for teachers, and securing adequate health insurance for retired teachers.
The Virginia Teachers Association served the Commonwealth’s black teachers from its inception in 1887 until merger with VEA in 1967. The VTA tirelessly advocated for the welfare and rights of black students and educators over those eight decades, and its contributions live on in the merged VEA decades later.