Ida Barbour

(1878-1925) Portsmouth, Virginia

The first African American woman to establish a day care center for the children of black working mothers in Virginia.

Ida Barbour was born around 1878 in Portsmouth, Virginia. She lived with her family in the first free Black section of the city, "Lincolnsville." After attending the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, she returned home and worked as a teacher in the Portsmouth Public School system from 1898-1909. After initially taking in 5 orphans, Barbour and 20 other women (known as the Women's League) established the Miller Day Nursery and Home for them and other neighborhood children in 1911. The Miller  Day Nursery, the area's first daycare to take in infants, continues today.