Celestine S. Braxton

Celestine S. Braxton, an educator in the Prince William County public school system for 33 years, died Jan. 15 at Prince William Hospital. She was 87 and lived in Manassas.

The cause was liver failure, said her daughter, Monique Braxton.

Mrs. Braxton retired in 1983 after 17 years teaching English and linguistics at Marsteller Middle School in Bristow, Va. Earlier she taught at Antioch-Mcrae Elementary School in Haymarket, during a period when Virginia schools were racially segregated.

She was an African American and civil rights activist who made test visits to restaurants and beauty salons in Northern Virginia in an effort to bring about racial integration, her family said. At one restaurant, she was given a handwritten menu listing a roast beef dinner at $55 and a cup of coffee at $2.

Celestine Scott was a native of Ahoskie, N.C., and a 1949 graduate of what is now Elizabeth City University. In 1960, she received a master’s degree in elementary education at George Washington University. Earlier, she had been informed that the public universities of North Carolina would not accept African Americans into postgraduate programs.

Survivors include her husband of 60 years, retired Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Carroll W. Braxton of Manassas; a daughter, Monique Braxton of Philadelphia; two sisters; a brother; and one grandson. A son, Robert Braxton, died in 1985.

Bart Barnes