They came from different backgrounds.
Joseph Walker was born a slave in Spotsylvania County in 1854. He worked at a variety of jobs over his lifetime, carrying bulk mail for the post office, as sexton at the Fredericksburg National Bank and at the black school and for over 50 years as the sexton of St. George’s Episcopal Church, just to name a few. He was also involved in several organizations. Enduring through these activities was his interest in education. He was self-taught, having learned through his jobs and observing others.
Jason Grant was born in Chatham, Ontario, Canada in 1861. Grant’s father had learned to read and write and was able to write a pass to allow himself to travel. He escaped from Kentucky and fled over the Ohio River and then continued to Canada. Jason Grant was born a freeman and was educated in Ontario, in Pontiac Michigan and at Wilberforce Educational Institute in Ohio. He moved to Fredericksburg, at a friend’s invitation, and began his career in the county and city schools. He retired from education after serving 42 years as a teacher and principal.