(Disclaimer: Not being a historian, I struggled with the terms used in writing about race in the South: African-American, Negro, Colored, Black, Mulatto, and Mixed Race. Reading through the literature to get some guidance, I came away with a wide array of advice, often contradictory. What I have done, for better or worse, is when using original references, I have used the identifications in the articles. When speaking generally I have tried to use African-American, however I do so, recognizing, that there are those who object to that term for sound reasons. If the reader finds places where I have failed to be consistent, please email me. email@example.com )
Acknowledgment: Lois Mallory kindly transcribed a number of vintage newspaper clippings for me and proofed everything. The Facebook page, Vicksburg African American History, created by David Slay, has been helpful.
For many years, I have sought information about early African-American schools in rural Warren county. I attended school in the county between 1942–1954 and did not remember any such schools until one was built 1951 not far from where we lived. My memories are of African-American children walking to school in all kinds of weather while we were on a dry school bus. They carried the books that were determined to be of too poor condition to be used in white schools. These children from time to time would be pelted with various objects from cars driving by. The culprits were usually teenage boys. (See the panel from Master Mississippi quilter, Hystercine Rankin (1928–2010). Caption reads "Me And My Brothers And Sisters Walk To School As White Children Ride.")
My search for earlier schools was unsuccessful. My inquires to older members of the community likewise yielded no information. A puzzling find in the U. S. Census was the rare African-American woman who listed her occupation as "Teacher." My suspicion was that these women taught in the home of some family or in a church.
Recently my brother, Donald Oakes, who had served as superintendent of Warren County schools, sent me a brochure for the dedication of a historical marker for Kings School. The marker is seen above. The brochure not only provided some information about earlier schools, but also included the names of several women, Zelmarine Murphy and Ezell Matthews-McDonald, who had helped research the history of the Kings and associated schools. With this new information from the brochure and an informative conversation with Mrs. Murphy and Mrs Matthews-McDonald, I have launched a new effort to document early African-American schools in Warren County and their unfortunately sad history. In doing so, I have discovered some remarkable men and women who struggled against forces determined to minimize the education of the African-American children. Their efforts can inspire us all.
Following the abolishment of slavery and the end of the Civil War, there was hope that the freed slaves would be educated and take their rightful place in society. Reconstruction was the mechanism used to fast-track this goal. We have to look to more recent scholarship on Reconstruction to understand what went wrong. The history of Reconstruction originally was written by early Southern historians and is now known to be highly biased and racist. Contrary to what most of us were taught, much progress was made during Reconstruction toward the stated educational and economic goals of the Union. Free public schools for whites and blacks grew out of Reconstruction. However, sadly, a political deal was struck with Southern Democrats of the time to settle the presidential election, the Compromise of 1877 (better known as the Great Betrayal). The agreement was to withdraw Federal soldiers from the south and thus began the perfidious institution of Jim Crow which dashed the dreams of African-American families to see their children receive a quality education.
A recent series of articles in the Sun Herald (a South Mississippi newspaper), February 2019, by Jerry Mitchell highlights the unfortunate history of public education in Mississippi.
He writes, “'Even in the territorial days, public schools were for the elite,' said David Sansing, professor emeritus of history at the University of Mississippi. In the years leading up to the Civil War, the state spent little money on public education, regarding 'free schools' with contempt. It’s no surprise, then, that what little public money the state did invest in education often went to private schools. Many towns contributed nothing to educate white children in Mississippi. Black children fared even worse because state law made it illegal to educate them.'
"After the Civil War, in 1868, Mississippi held its first constitutional convention in which African Americans were allowed to participate. Their breakthrough constitution created 'a uniform system of free public schools' for those ages 5 to 21, and divided school funds evenly among all children of school age. But many policymakers rebelled against white taxpayers paying anything toward the education of black students. The state superintendent of education called the creation of public schools 'an unmitigated outrage upon the rights and liberties of the white people of the state.'
"In the years that followed, violence, fraud and a new Constitution in 1890 put an end to black voting, returning white supremacy to power. With white policymakers back in charge, taxes were cut, school funding was whacked, segregation resumed, and state officials relied on favoritism, prejudice and the law to send the majority of money to all-white public schools. In 1931, a State Department of Education official concluded Mississippi’s basis of funding education was 'the least satisfactory basis now in practice.' Five years later, Mississippi began requiring counties that wanted state funding to levy a local 10-mill property tax, but that local tax could only be imposed with a majority vote, leaving a number of counties in the cold.'
"Black students suffered the most, and policymakers defended their prejudices. 'The education of a Negro only spoils a good field hand,' U.S. Sen.and Gov. James K. Vardaman declared. 'It is money thrown away.' His words found fertile soil in Mississippi. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld “separate but equal” schools, but Mississippi’s segregated schools were far from equal. In 1890, the state spent twice as much on white students as on black students. By 1935, the state spent more than three times more on white students. By World War II, African-American students received only 13 percent of the education funding, despite making up 57 percent of school-age children. Black teachers, who took home the same pay as white teachers between 1877 and 1885, now made only 38 percent as much as white teachers. Lack of pay, combined with a lack of training, contributed to fewer qualified teachers, half of them lacking a high school diploma. It’s no surprise, then. that by 1950 only 2.3 percent of black Mississippians had graduated from high school. The vast majority had a seventh-grade education or less.'
"Two years later, a state legislative committee on education investigated the matter and concluded that 'the condition of Mississippi’s schools for Negroes in rural areas is pathetic, and in some cases it is inexcusable.' Hundreds of black children are compelled to attend school in 'unpainted, unheated and unlighted buildings that are not fit for human habitation and should have been condemned years ago,' the report said. 'There are very few rural schools for Negroes in Mississippi that have sanitary drinking water facilities or sanitary toilet facilities.' Fearful that courts would rule its segregated schools far from equal, Mississippi began to build more all-black schools, following the lead of other Southern states. But even with those efforts, the state fell far short of closing the funding gap between black and white schools. Money the state appropriated to raise the pay of African-American teachers often failed to reach them. And districts continued their spending along racial lines. For instance, funding in Glendora for the average black student was $13.71 — less than 3 percent of the $464 the average white student received."
1866 Directive to Create Colored Schools in Vicksburg
Office Assistant Commissioner Freedmen's Bureau Miss.
Vicksburg Miss. Sept. 4th 1865
Special Orders No. 29
I. There being no provision for the education of Colored people by the State law of Mississippi, and no steps to this end having been taken by the present Provisional Government of the State, and the Colored people of Vicksburg having, in a public meeting, and by general consent, (no person dissenting as far as is known), agreed to assess upon themselves a fund for the support of schools in the city for the benefit of the children of their community, and having appointed a school committee to carry the system into effect, it is hereby ordered: I. H. R. Revels, Joseph J. Moore, G. W. Walton, A. Newton, D. Forte, P. P. Head, H. Mason and James Middleton, and their association and successors, duly appointed from time to time, shall be recognized as a school committee to aid the officer of the Freedmen's Bureau having the superintendent of schools in carrying on the work of education in the City of Vicksburg.
II. That it shall be the duty of this Committee, and they are hereby authorized to assess upon the adult Colored people, resident within the sphere of the schools of this city, a fund for the maintenance of such schools from October 1st 1865 to June 30th 1866 and to appoint and superintend a collector of 16 this fund, who shall be paid for his service out of the fund.
III. That said collector shall have, and make publicly known, our office, where all persons shall be required to pay the amount assessed upon them, taking receipts for the same, at such times as may be fixed by the School Committee above named. Further modes of collection, the sum due from delinquents, shall be determined by the same committee.
IV. That the money collected as above shall be paid over by the collector, according to rules prescribed by the School Committee, to the Receiving and Disbursing officer of the Freedmen's Bureau at Vicksburg and shall be used to pay the incidental expenses and the teachers' wages of the schools for colored people of the city. By wake of the Committee, on the order of the Superintendent of Education; and the schools shall be free to all colored people living in and near the city, with no charge for tuition. The Superintendent shall render accounts to the School Committee and the Committee shall make them known to the public, together with all such information as shall tend to create and sustain an intelligent interest in the schools.
V. This movement, on the part of the colored citizens of Vicksburg is highly creditable to them; and if properly and cordially carried out, will be greatly useful. All officers acting under orders from this office will afford to the effort all proper aid and the encouragement.
By order of Col. Sam'l Thomas, Stuart Eldridge Lieut AAA Gen.
(Note: Chaplain Joseph Warren was State Superintendent of Education)
June 23, 1866 from Harper's Weekly. Noon at the Primary school (top) and Primary school for Freedmen, in charge of Mrs. Green, at Vicksburg, Mississippi (bottom)
From the article accompanying the pictures above:
PICTURES OF THE SOUTH. Mr. A. R. W.'s sketches on pages 392 and 393, illustrating the May-day Festival at New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Frecdmcn's School at Vieksburg, Mississippi, are thus described by the artist: "One of the most noticeable features of these schools for frccdmen is thecleanliness and good clothing of a majority of the scholars. Of course ragged and rough specimens, but these are not the rule. It is one of the many evidences I have found in Mississippi of the general well-being-of the negroes, and their capacity to take care of themselves.These scholars, embracing all ages from the grandam down to the infant, are attentive, and master their tasks without any appearance that the labor is irksome. The lady teachers, with a little tact, do almost any thing with them; and, although all teaching is a wearisome business, I should judge that these people showed the average intelligence displayed in the New York public shools. The Superintendent of the sxhools, Chaplain Warren (Joseph Warren), considers that in all that pertains to language they are, perhaps, ahead of white children in quickness of apprehension. How far their capacity for education would carry them is doubtful. That these schools will vastly improe the colored people there is no room for doubt: the evidence is conclusive on that point. The school-house is a dilapidated affair, and the owner is anxious to get it into his possession again The location of the school will have to be changed. The prejudice of the Southern people against the education of the negroes is almost universal. (Note A. R. W. is Alfred Rudolph Waud, (born October 2, 1828, London, England—died April 6, 1891, Marietta, Georgia, U.S.), British-born American illustrator whose lively and detailed sketches of scenes from the Civil War, which he covered as a press correspondent, captured the war’s dramatic intensity and furnished him with a reputation as one of the preeminent artist-journalists of his era. After the war Waud continued to contribute sketches to Harper’s, documenting American life in locales ranging from the Reconstruction-era South to the western frontier.)
Timeline of Early School Information:
1868—The Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1868 included African-American citizens. One of its provisions was the establishment of a framework for comprehensive system of public schools for the state.
The Peabody Fund reportd in 1868 that there were 3000 children of school age in the city of Vicksburg one-half of whom were African-American, and there were 1130 African-American children in school. The fund provided $2000 for white students. Nothing for the African-American schools. The Negro pupiles were likely all in Freedmen's Bureau schools. Teachers were probaly from The Society of Friends, the American Missionary Association, and the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission.
Here I will collect information about schools during reconstruction.
1869—Public Schools mentioned in The Vicksburg Herald.
1870—According to John R. Lynch in "The Facts of Reconstruction", "There was not a public school buildng anywhere in the state except in a few of the larger towns, and they, with possibly a few exceptions, were greatly in need of repairs." The table below provides some information about schools in Mississippi before 1870. In 1871, there were only 4 African-American high schools, 51 grammar schools and 202 mixed grades schools in MS.
1870—Below from The Weekly Mississippi Pilot Jackson, Mississippi 18 Jun 1870, A bill in the Mississippi Legislature.
1871—From PhD Thesis by Stuart Grayson Noble, Millsaps College, 1918. "Cause for additional expense was provided in the fact that there were no colored teachers. For the 860 schools for Negroes in 1871 there were 400 Negro teachers. White teachers had to be secured for over half of these schools. Southern whites did not take to the profession in numbers sufﬁcient to man the Negro schools." Hence, northern teachers had to be imported, and since a term of four months with low salaries would not furnish remuneration sufﬁcient to attract this class of teachers, the monthly salaries had to be raised. The average monthly salary for 1871 was $58.90." In this dissertation Mr. Noble mntion, rather grudginly the many violent attacks on Negro schools. These included school burnings, teachers whipped, and school directors and teachers forced to resign. The Klan was involved in some of these but not by any means all. Mr. Nobles thesis is sadly an example of the effort by southern historians to sanitize reconstruction.
In 1871, I. D. Shadd explained to a black editor that the 1,200 people on the Montgomery plantations were "advancing rapidly in letters." although he found them woefully ignorant about conditions beyond their neighborhood, they seemed especially uninformed about national black leaders. This however was by design, Montgomery had assured the white community that all political discussion would be discouraged.
1872, Charles E. Bent was appointed superintendent of schools. He was from Michigan and a Republican. A reporter from Cincinnati visited the Vicksburg schools, white and colored.
The following is from the book, "The Pursuit of Freedom" by Janet Sharp Hermann, Copyright 1891."The Freedmen's Bureau had assigned at least one missionary teacher to Davis Bend through 1867., and there were schoolhouses at Hurricane, Ursino, and Bank plantations. In 1868, Ben Montgomery (black owner of the plantation, he had bought it after being freed, with a mortgage from Joseph Davis, the older brother of Jefferson Davis.) unsuccessfully petitioned the bureau for aid to their schools, but county support soon filled the breach. In the winter of 1872 nearly fifty children attended the Hurricane public school taught by Mrs. Amelia Shadd. In March she invited Virginia Montgomery (Ben and Mary Montgomery's daughter.) to witness the school examination and the latter maintained that the pupils' exhibited a progression that exceed my every expectation.' They were particularly well-versed in Americnb history, although they had some difficulty with geology because"twas new." In May, the county closed the school for lack of funds, promising to resume instruction in October. Virginia regretted the decision insisting that 'many a poor child will fall back from this.' Mrs. Shadd immediately opened a private school for those who could afford the tuition. In August, the county board of education decided to postpone reopening of the public school until the next January, claiming they could support it for only five months per year, and Mrs. Shadd moved her family to Vicksburg, where her husband was active in Republican politics. After Rebecca and Virginia Montgomery (daughters) returned from Oberlin, they were employed as teachers on the Bend for a few months each year. the youngsters were forced to get most of their eduation on their own."
1872—Here we have an article (posted by Charles Bell) related to a school board meeting in Vicksburg. "
The Vicksburg Daily Times, 02 Jan 1872, Tue, Page 2
CITY SCHOOL BOARD.
The board met at the court house at nine o'clock. Present: M. S. Basic, president; A. H. Arthur, H. N. Martin, H. Leyens, B. J. Miller, John Hartigan, A. Newton Sr., and Capt. J. W. Short, clerk.
The following named persons were elected as teachers for the various schools of the county.
White School - Emma Curtch, Miss Badcock, Mrs. S. C. Woods, Miss Mollie Thompkins, Miss A Lamb, Miss A. Martin, Mrs. Charles, Miss Clark and Miss Moore.
Jackson Road School - Mrs. L. J. Cardozo, Mrs. S. D. Tomlinson.
A. M. E. Church - Mrs. Cummings, Mrs. Freedmau, Mrs. Spicer.
Pleasant Grove School - Mrs. A. Martin, Mrs. S. D. Thomas.
The schools of the city were then numerically arranged and will hereafterbe designated as follows:
White School as No.l.
A. M. E. Church as No. 2.
Jackson Road as No. 3.
Mount Pleasant as No. 4.
Pleasant Ridge as No. 5.
The board after transacting other business of minor importance, adjourned to meet next Monday at 9 o'clock, to receive the report of the treasurer.
Board of County School Directors.
The board met at the court house yesterday, Present - M. S. Hasie in the chair, aud Messrs. Watts, Alexson, Parham, Cowan, and Mr. Cardozo, clerk.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The following teachers' bills for services were received and allowed:
Miss A. Martin ........ $112 00
Benj. C. Johnson ....... 45 00
R. H. Prosser .......... 37 50
Mrs. Mary Turner ....... 90 00
George Robinson ........ 85 50
George Ingram .......... 77 00
Daniel Starks .......... 20 00
J. H. Thomas ........... 56 00
H. K. Thomas ........... 10 00
W. H. Furness .......... 30 00
Lucy Marshall .......... 32 50
J. K. Leedssel ......... 40 50
N. Hall ................ 27 00
Amelia F. Shadd ........ 90 00
F. Herrington .......... 70 00
W. W. Williamson ....... 52 50
G. W. Stith ............ 37 50
Times and Republican ... 34 25
S. Diltace ............. 8 00
A. Johnson ............. 12 50
Numerous petitions were read and referred to committees for action at the next meeting.
The president, Mr. Hasie, called the attention of the board to the fact that the reports of teachers in some localities showed such small average attendance that it would be necessary for tbe board to take some action by consolidating these schools with others or discontinuing them altogether, as it would not pay the county to be paying teachers where the schools are not attended. Action was deferred till another meeting.
The board, after transacting some unimportant business, adjourned.
1873—At right we see an article in the Oct. 5, 1873, Vicksburg Herald. Four public schools are referred to. School No. 1 is clearly a white school. It has 219 students and 14 teachers. It notes that the other schools have low enrollments.
School #2 has three teachers. Miss Mary A. Cummings, principal (There is a Mary A. Cummings Coakley, wife of Patrick Coakley, buried in Cedar Hills Cemetery. Aug. 19, 1849- Nov. 25, 1899). Mrs. Dorotha "Dora" Gotthelf Friedman (Dora, born 1835 or 1843 in Maryland, is white with both parents born in Bavaria. Her father was Rabbi Bernhard Henry Gotthelf, who died in yellow fever epidemic. From 1863 to 1865 he served as a chaplain in the Union Army. She lived on Grove Street. She married Mayer J. Friedman Nov. 1, 1860. By 1880 she is widowed. She died in Memphis in 1915 and is buried in Jewish cemetaryIn 1881 she is a postal clerk in Vicksburg. Her son Clarence was lawyer and judge in Memphis.) Her Jewish faith likely influenced her willingness to teach in an African-American school. The third teacher is Mary Murphy Jingles (or Jingels), wife of August Jingles. Married 1872. The Vicksburg Herald reported both died on September 16, 1878 in the yellow fever epidemic, he was 30 and she was 35. Likely their three year old son, Robert, died 12 days later. August owned a third interest in patents for a buckle clasp and a water elevator.
School #3: Amelia F. Shadd was the principal. She was born in Kentucky about 1833. She is an African-American (mulatto) and was living in Davis Bend, Warren, MS in 1870. Appears to have a son Charlton Shadd age 19 living with her. Charlton is born in Canada. In 1861, Amelia is teaching school in Chatham, Canada. Gavin Shadd, a farmer is living with her. Laura J. Cardoza She was married to Thomas W. Cardoza, a black man, who became Superintendent of Education in MS in 1873. Mrs. Anna A. Watkins. In 1871, Anna opened an account in the Freedman's Bank. She is widowed and is teaching for the U. P. Mission School Board in Vicksburg. She has a brother H. L. Williams.
Lydia A. Spicer. In April 1869, there is an application by Lydia. In it she listed her father as either Daniel or Paul and mother as Mary or Mariann. Maybe a daughter Beth. Writing is very faint. On May 5, 1871, she again opened an account in the Freedman's Bank.Age 37 or 31. Complexion: White, Works as teacher for the City. She is widowed. No parents listed. Children: "Their dead", Brothers "All dead", Sisters "All dead". In 1870 Census, L. A. Spicer, age 38, born England, Keeping Boarders, eleven boarders, one African-American, C. E. Bent is one of the boarders, he is born in Canada. In 1874, he is superintenent of schools. She has a most interesting collection of boarders, mostly under 30, professionals and born int he North. Two lawyers, two physicians, teacher, dressmaker, two clerks and a cook. I suspect most have come south after the war to help with reconstruction.
1873—Attempted budget reduction for Vicksburg schools. Locations of the four schools inclucled.
1874—School listing of teachers.
1884—Warren County Superintendent of School suggest reducing portion of budget for Negro children.
1890—By Constitutional prescription the Normal (teaching training) Department in Tougaloo Univeristy was removed.
1904— State Normal School had Holly Springs closed due to legislature appropriating not funds. Both these actions left black teachers with out a teacher training school. Alcorn was dedicated more to agricultural and industrilization training.
If my preliminary information is correct, namely that the first Rosenwald African-American schools in rural Warren county were in 1921, then this means that these children received inadequate public support for education from 1865 until 1921, a span of 56 years! Note the photo at right of Warren County Superintendent J. H. Culkin in the May 1922 Vicksburg Evening Post, lauding the lowest taxation rate in the South and the year-end unspent funds of $6000! Culkin was a strong advocate for securing funds from the Rosenwald Fund.
Julius Rosenwald was the founder of the Rosenwald Fund. He contributed seed money for many African-American schools and other philanthropic causes. He required local communities to raise matching funds to encourage their commitment to these projects. To promote collaboration between black and white people, Rosenwald required communities to commit public funds and/or labor to the schools, as well as to contribute additional cash donations after construction. With the program, millions of dollars were raised by African-American rural communities across the South to fund better education for their children and white school boards had to agree to operate and maintain the schools. Despite this program, by the mid-1930s, white schools in the South were funded more than five times per student that of black schools (in majority-black Mississippi, this ratio was sometimes more than 13 to one in some counties.). Political leaders across the South had much to answer for.
Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald
Here is a 1911 map of Warren County. I have put red stars at the location of African-American schools. As the list below indicates there were more than one school located at some locations. There were generally about 60 such schools.
Below is an announcement in the Vicksburg Evening Post, Oct. 14, 1916.
Here is a 1914 article covering a speech by Friley Benjamin Woodley, Supt. of Schools in Hattisburg and President of the Mississippi Education Association. (The Mississippi Education Association was founded in 1885 and was for many years the strongest teachers' association in the state. Its membership was predominately white; its counterpart for black teachers was the Mississippi Teachers Association.) It appeared in the Mississippi Education Advance, 1914. For a school superintendent to talk of "squandering thousands of dollars on Negro Education" illustrate the environment Negro teachers and students had to work in. The first part of the artile describes the sorry state of teacher compensation in Mississippi. We don't need much insight to conclude what the situation was for Negro teachers.
Rosenwald School Requirements published in "The Mississippi Education Advance, 1920.
1920 Teachers at Magnolia School announced. Magnolia Ave School Notes - 3 April 1920 - Vicksburg Evening Post Teachers Elected - 9 Jun 1920 - Vicksburg Herald
(Some information from Oct. 5, 1873, Vicksburg Herald)
Following the establishment of public schools by the 1868 Mississippi Constitutional Convention, there was rebellion by white taxpayers against paying for the education of African-American students. No schools were available to train Black teachers, hence few were available in the early years. For the 860 schools for Negroes in 1871, there were 400 Negro teachers. White teachers had to be secured for over half of these schools. Not surprisingly, Southern whites did not take to the profession in numbers sufﬁcient to man the Negro schools. Hence, northern teachers had to be imported, and since a term of four months with low salaries would not furnish remuneration sufﬁcient to attract such teachers, the monthly salaries had to be raised. The average monthly salary for 1871 was $58.90.
Fortunately there were many young men and women from the North who, recognizing the need to provide education for the newly freed slaves, moved south and became the teachers. Obviously they did this at great personal risk. Many came from The American Missionary Association, Quakers and other religious organizations. Some of these heroes are included in the entries below.
First East Street
School No. 1 is a white school. It has 219 students and 14 teachers. It notes that the other schools have low enrollments.
Superintendent of Schools Charles Edward Bent.
In Nov. 1873, Principal Moore reports 171 boys and 214 girls. He mentions newly decorated school and new equipment. He comments, "Dr. B. H. Gotthelf, our intelligent German teacher, has under his charge 65 boys and 58 girls."
School #2 has three teachers. Miss Mary A. Cummings, principal (There is a Mary A. Cummings Coakley, wife of Patrick Coakley, buried in Cedar Hills Cemetery. Aug. 19, 1849-Nov. 25, 1899). Mrs. Dorotha "Dora" Gotthelf Friedman (Dora, born 1835 or 1843 in Maryland, is white with both parents born in Bavaria. Her father was Rabbi Bernhard Henry Gotthelf, who died in yellow fever epidemic. From 1863 to 1865, he served as a chaplain in the Union Army. Dora lived on Grove Street. She married Mayer J. Friedman Nov. 1, 1860. By 1880 she is widowed. She died in Memphis in 1915 and is buried in Jewish cemetary. In 1881, she is a postal clerk in Vicksburg. Her son, Clarence, was lawyer and judge in Memphis.) Her Jewish faith likely influenced her willingness to teach in an African-American school despite the risk of violence from the community. The third teacher is Mary Murphy Jingles (or Jingels), wife of August Jingles. They were married 1872. The Vicksburg Herald reported both died on September 16, 1878, in the yellow fever epidemic, he was 30 and she was 35. Likely their three year old son, Robert, died 12 days later. August owned a third interest in patents for a buckle clasp and a water elevator.
In Nov, 1873, Principal Cummings reports 51 boys and 60 girls.
Pleasant Green Street
Some Early Teachers:
Amelia F. Shadd was the principal. Teachers are: Laura J. Cardoza, Mrs Anna A Watkins, Miss Sara D. Tomlinson, Mrs. Lydia A. Spicer, Mis J. D. Lynch
Amelia Freeman Shadd was born in Pittsburg about 1833. She is an African-American (mulatto) and was living in Davis Bend, Warren, MS in 1870. This is the old Jefferson Davis plantation. She is the wife of Isaac D. Shadd (born Delaware 1829–1896), who became Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representative. They had a son, Charlton D. Shadd. Charlton is born in Canada. Her sister-in-law, Mary Ann Shadd described Amelia as "an energetic Christian woman" and "known to many respectable citizens of Pittsburg."
Amelia had traveled in the circles of black abolitionist leadership since her early childhood in Pittsburgh. (Some sources state that her father was Martin H. Freeman, vice-president of Allegheny Institute and later president of Avery College. They appear to be contemporaries so I suspect this is not true.) By 1849 Amelia was a student in the Ladies' Preparatory Departmet of Oberlin College. Amelia taught fine arts at Allegheny Institute before going to Canada in 1851 to found a school in Chatham, Ontario. She attended the National Emigration Convention of Colored People Held at Cleveland, Ohio 1854. In Chatham in 1856, she met and married Isaac D. Shadd, who was a trustee of her school and one of the editors of the newspaper, the Provincial Freeman. While in Chatham, Amelia founded the Ladies Literary Society of of Chatham. She taught painting, drawing, music (voice and piano) and writing.
Isaac was a newspaper editor, printer, and bookkeeper. First listed on the census in 1850, when he was living in West Chester, PA with his parents, abolitionists Abraham D. Shadd and Harriet Burton Parnell. His sister, Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893), was a famous abolitionist, journalist, and educator in her own right. In 1858, at John Brown’s convention in Chatham, Ontario, Shadd became a secretary in Brown’s League of Liberty. He and his wife, Amelia, founded in 1859 and worked at the Chatham Mission School. They appear on the 1861 census of Canada in Chatham. His occupation is “printer,” and her's is “school teacher.” Amelia had been a student at Oberlin College.The following article, entitled, "The Mission School at Chatham, appeared in The Liberator in March 1862, in Chatham, Canada.
The purpose of this school was to educate refugee slaves from the US. Because of this, the school was constantly under attack by racist forces. The Shadds were well-known for their role in the Underground Railroad. In 1875, Isaac narrowly escaped being shot by whites who opened fire on him and two others. In later life, Amelia and Isaac moved to Greenville, MS. In 1879, Amelia is teaching at two schools in Greenville: Refuge School, $230/5month; Harford, $180/5months.
Laura J. Cardoza, She is married to Thomas W. Cardoza and they have children, Alvin W. and J. Francis. Thomas list himself as 'Colored" in a Freedman's Bank application. However he was born in Charlston, SC toLydia Williams, a free woman of mixed ancestry and Isaac Nunez Cardozo, a member of a well-known Jewish family. After the war startd he moved to New York and married Laura J. Williams, a fellow-teacher and an accomplished musician from a mulatto familly of Brooklyn. In 1871, they moved to Vicksburg because Laura had relatives there. His occupation in Circuit Clerk. He later became State Superintendent of Education. and served from 1873–1876. While he eventually resigned as a result of various allegations, it is difficult to judge the merits, as many of the black leaders of the time were attacked from many quarters.
Mrs. Anna A. Watkins. In 1871, Anna opened an account in the Freedman's Bank. She is widowed and is teaching for the U. P. Mission School Board in Vicksburg. She has a brother H. L. Williams.
Lydia A. Spicer. In April 1869, there is a Freedmen's Bank application by Lydia. In it she listed her father as either Daniel or Paul and mother as Mary or Mariann. Maybe had a daughter Beth. Writing is very faint. On May 5, 1871, she again opened an account in the Freedman's Bank.Age 37 or 31. Complexion: White, Works as teacher for the City. She is widowed. No parents listed. Children: "Their dead", Brothers "All dead", Sisters "All dead". Her application as a white person for an account in the Freedmen's Bank seems to indicate she did not trust the local banks. Probably a prudent decision give her job. In 1870 Census, L. A. Spicer, age 38, born England, Keeping Boarders, eleven boarders, one African-American, a cook, C. E. Bent is one of the boarders, he is born in Canada. In 1874, he is superintenent of schools. She has a most interesting collection of boarders, mostly under 30, professionals and born int the North. Two lawyers, two physicians, teacher, dressmaker, two clerks and a cook. I suspect most have come south after the war to help with reconstruction.
In Nov. 1873, Principal Shadd reports 75 boys and 60 girls. She remarks, "her school is constantly increasing in numbers, many of the older childrren now engaged in cotton picking being expected in during November."
Miss Sarah D. Thomas, Principal, Teachers: Mr. Augustus Newton, Mr. Patrick Sullivan.
In Nov. 1873, Principal Thomas reports an enrollment of 70 girs and 36 boy. She remarks, "her school has filled up rapidly toward the close out of he month and is still increasing.
Warren County School Gallery
Most photos came from Fisk University Rosenwald Fund Card File Database.
Allen's Station School, #100
Baconham School , #75
Ballground School, #77
Bell View School
Bear Creek School
Brunswick School #78
Cedar Creek School
Cedars School #93
Cherry Street School
1884:Mrs. A. A. McCalloway, Mr. Temple, W. H. Reynolds, Laura Winans ($35/mo in 1884), Lucy Crump ($25/mon in 1884, Mamie McAllister (1884), Mary E. Holt (1884), Mrs. E. H. Morgan (1884), Florence Russell (1884), Marcella Harrison (1884)
1893:W. H. Reynolds, Principal; Mrs. A. A. McCalloway, Miss Mary E. Holt, Mrs. L. J. Campbell, Miss Mary L. Harrison, Mrs. M. L. Hemphill, Miss Belle W. Banks, Mrs. L. P. Foote, Mrs. C. J. Andrews, Miss A. M. Hitch, Mrs. L. C. Blowe; Mrs. J. E. Dunham, substitute.
T. C. Golden, Janitor Main Street School; Mrs. M. T. Tyler, Janitress Walnut Street School; Thos. Davis, Janitor Cherry Street School.
1896: B. F. Shannon principal, Mrs J. E. D. Woode, assistant principal. First grade, Miss Gertrude Monroe; Second Grade, Miss Sarah Banks; Third Grade Mrs. M. M. Hemphill; Fourth Grade, Mrs. A. M. Bowman; Fifth Grade, Miss Emma Lee Johnson; Sixth Grade, Mrs. L. P. "Millie" Foote; Seventh Grade, Mrs. B. W. Williams; Eighth Grade, Mrs. L. C. Blowe; Ninth Grade, Miss M. N. Jones; Tenth Grade, Mrs. M. E. McAllister
1901: Division 11, High School, Principal B. F. Shannon, Div 10 Miss M. L. Mabry, Div 9 Mrs F. D. McAllister, Div 8 Mrs. G. E. Shannon Div 5 Mrs M..E. H. McAllister, Div 5 Miss S. E. Hunt, Div 4 Mrs. L. P. foote, Div 3 Miss Q. E. Wills, Div 2 Mrs M. Lovett, Div 1 Mrs. B. W. Williams, General Substitute Miss E. Scott.
1917: G. M. McIntyre, principal; Mary McAllister, Mae Dixon, Maude Foote, Mattie Holland, Sarah Howard, Katie Wiley, Margaret Winlock, Flora McAllister, Helen Wesley, Rosa Buck, Minnie Cannon, Bessie Bankston, Grace Dunham, Emma Scott
In the list below, found on the "Vicksburg African American History" Facebook page created by Dr. David Slay, Annie is seen to graduate in 1915. Note that a classmate is a McAllister as well as several of the teachers. I think it is likely this is the Cherry Street School.
Class Roll 1915
Fannie Mae Barksdale
Allen Edward Brooks
Larry Ernest Boughman
John Samuel Davis
Annie Ernestine Foote
Ruby Lillian Gaines
Maggie Mabel Greene
Annie Hilda Marley
Julius Blackburn Matthews
Ealie Janie McAllister (should be Jane Ellen McAllister)
Bertha Mae Price
Sophia Fannie Rhodman
Verna Calvin Rathel
Hazel Ruth Shannon
Katie Vera Washington
Ruby Myrtle Walton
William Leader Wright
S. M. Kelley Grade 1
K. L. Harrison Grade 2
B. H. Bankston Grade 3
S. E. Howard Grade 4
M. K. Holland Grade 4
M. L. Cannon Grade 5
M. H. Foote Grade 6
R. L. Buck Grade 7
M. M. Dixon Grade 8
F. D. McAllister Grade 9
M. K. H. McAllister Grade 10
G. M. McIntyre, Principal Senior Grade
H. J. Wesley Grade 9
Clay Street School
Clear Creek School
Clover Valley School
Eagle Bend School
Eldorado School #93
Flowerree School #81
Four Mile Bottom School #86
Haynes Bluff School
Hickory Tree School
Ken Karyl School
Keiger School, #6
Building Plan Three-teacher type
Building Type School
Budget Year 1920-21
County Warren State Mississippi
Application # 45
Total Cost $5000.00
Notes Additional Comments '2' written in bottom right corner; likley acreage
Funding Sources, Negroes $2,000.00, Public $2,000.00, Rosenwald $1,000.00
King's Point School
Lake School #95
Lane's Hill School
Locust Grove School
Lucy C. Jefferson Junior High School
McIntyre Elementary School
National Cemetery School
Oak Ridge School
Pleasant Green School or School #4
Pleasant Hill School
Redwood School #59
Rosa Temple High School
Rose Hill School
Sadler School #97
Saint Mary's School
Sandy Bottom School
St John's School
Sunny Side School
Walters School #98
Youngstown School #59
List of African-American Teacher found in Warren County
Will add first names, dates and school when found. Please email me any information you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Chronology of Public Schools for African-American Students in Warren County
1900–Emma Scott, daughter of Julia Stith, was listed as school teacher in Warren County. In 1931 she is teacher in Cherry Street School. She was still teaching in 1940. She married John Spring however they were divorced in 1916.
February 12, 1909–Vicksburg Evening Post includes an "Eloquent Letter of W. E. Mollison (at right) to Supt. Carr Asking Holiday for Pupils of Colored Public Schools that they may observe Lincoln's Anniversary."
"Vicksburg, Miss., Feb. 12, 1909
Prof J. P. Carr, Supt. City Public Schools, Vicksburg, Miss.:
I beg your pardon for calling attention to the fact, that the colored youths of Vicksburg, as well as their parents, are greatly interested in the observance of the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
It would be a fitting thing in my judgment, to permit the colored children in the public schools to have the day, and if not all, half of it as a vacation. In making this request, I am not unmindful of the fact that the number of holidays is increasing, and that the observance of them may cost something in the way of discipline, and in a slight degree break into set program. But I am sure you will agree with me that the colored boy and girl, some of whose immediate ancestors felt the chafing of chains, the birthday of Lincoln means more than would the joint birthdays of the wonderful Washington, the loved Lee and the dauntless Davis to the white boy and girl in Mississippi.
To no one man can the white man look as the founder of his freedom from chains of any kind, as can the black man to this marvelously merciful man whose figure looms larger as the solemn procession of the years passes onward. There is no desire to keep alive any feeling of race or hate, for the man whose name every black man whispers in reverence has been called, "the greatest memory of our world," and he came from the dominant Saxon and made the white man a freedom safe and sure.
If one wished to draw race lines, he could not mention that in this week not quite a hundred years ago, a slave was born whose eloquent tongue and lofty patriotism helped Lincoln in his mighty task to make the nation great and free. But Fred Douglass, like all his patient tribe, can wait for time to put the chaplet on his brow.
This is Lincoln Day. The country joins in the deepest song than ever rose from patriots throats from time's great dawn till now, and Lincoln lives in every line.
Let black boys and girls go forth today, not in thoughtless idleness, but that they may be reminded of him who waited not, but wrought until the world acclaimed Lincoln "Freedom's Foremost Friend." Let them go forth beneath our skies in benediction bended on each returning Lincoln day "lest they forget" that gratitude is the sweetest flower that blooms in all the garden of the gods.
To make this humble plea, I waited until the good hour, with fondest hope that the two colored principals of the schools for whose pupils I pray, would have called your attention to it and made the request, but I have heard no word, and so I ask that you direct that the colored schools be given at least a half holiday, today, February 12.
I am, with sentiments of the profoundest respect,
Your humble servant,
W. E. MOLLISON."
Bio for Mollison: Willis Elbert Mollison was born during 1859 near Mayersville in Issaquena County. He was the son of Robert and Martha Mollison. Robert and Martha, his parents, were both born during 1827 in Maryland and were residents of Issaquena County prior to 1859. Willis Elbert grew up in Issaquena County and at an early age attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and during 1878 he entered Oberlin College, graduating in 1880. From 1882 until 1892 he served as the Issaquena County Chancery and Circuit Court Clerk and shortly after 1892 he moved to nearby Vicksburg in Warren County. He was a noted newspaper writer. Several times he was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Conventions and always cut a wide swath in all public affairs. He was a lecturer of great ability and well versed on historical subjects. He was a practicing attorney in Warren County. His wife was the former Ida Welbourne of Clinton in Madison County. Between 1910 and 1920, he moved to Chicago, Cook County Illinois where he continued to practice law. In Chicago he was the vice-resident of the Anthropological Society and served as president of the Cook County Bar Association. His son, Irvin Charles Mollison, attended Tougaloo College, Oberlin College and University of Chicago. He became Judge of the United State Customs Court. His daughter, Mabel Z. Mollison, graduated from Oberlin and work for her father. Some of the material for this short biography is taken from the book, Beacon Lights of the Race, published during 1911. For more detail of Mollison's amazing life click: Mollison
February 19, 1909 "The colored students did not get the holiday." An article in the Vicksburg Evening Post states,
'The ceremonies celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, at Mount Hereoden church was one of the greatest events in the history of the colored people of Vicksburg. The spacious church was packed to the doors. the music and choruses were well rendered. The solo of Fletcher Scott, "David Jones Locker" was encored. Rev. E. P. Jones was master of ceremonies. The papers showed great thought and feeling. The subjects treated were as follows:
"Lincoln as a letter writer," by B. W. Currie of the local carrier force showed wide reading of Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg in a creditable manner. J. G. H. Howman of the city schools read, "Lincoln as a man." Rev. L. W. W. Manaway of Jackson and who was in Washington the day of issuance of the immortal proclamation, and who enjoys the distinction of having known Mr. Lincoln well, told of the human document and the patient sympathetic man. Rev. L. B. Price spoke of Lincoln's religion. W. E. Mollison spoke of "Lincoln the Emancipator." His speech was warmly applauded.
"At the conclusion of the speeches and papers, Charles Long took a flash light picture of the Grand Army of the Republic and the children who rendered America. Altogether there has been no greater event in the history of the colored people of this city.
"The reception held at Lincoln Savings Bank Friday was a great success. The log cabin and ax and log in the window attracted hundreds of persons who spoke of the taste and skill displayed in the conception and execution. A large number of out of town colored people were visitors to the city to take part in the celebration." (Mollison was a major stockholder in the Lincoln Savings Bank.)
October 14, 1916-Vicksburg Evening Post list of Colored Teachers and their schools.
WARREN COUNTY COLORED SCHOOL TEACHERS AND THEIR SCHOOLS, 1916
Weathers, E. R.
Horton, T. A.
White, L. E.
Wilson, P. E.
Lewis, E. W.
Springs, Emma ( neice of GW Stith, daughter of Julia Stith)
Welmore, J. L.
Clark, H. G.
Brown, A. L.
Brinson, E. V.
Price, Bertha M.
Monroe, W. M.
Hicks, B. M.
Cook, A. P.
December 2, 1918-Vicksburg Evening Post publishes letter from Negro Ministers asking for modern school. The article mentions 60 colored school teacher and their average salary of $28/month for 6 1/2 months. They suggest the Rosenwald fund to begin with modernizing one school. The letter was signed, however the Post did not publish their names, likely to prevent any harassment.
February 12, 1919–Vicksburg Evening Post mentions Lincoln's Birthday. There was no school wide observance.
November 11, 1920—Vicksburg Evening Post reports that the Rosenwald Fund Warren County application was approved and will receive $15,000.
December 6, 1920—Vicksburg Evening Post reports that Superintendent of Schools for Warren county has secured an additional $5000 from the Rosenwald Fund which has given $52,000 to the state. He justifies the effort to improve Negro school as necessary to keep "producers" from leaving the county. He says this is the most successful educational effort during his tenure.
March 11, 1921—Vicksburg Evening Post publishes Schools Financial statement by Superintendent J. H. Culkin. Nine white schools are mention with a total budget for them approximately five times that of the colored school. Oak Ridge has the largest budget at $13,405.9. The portion of the report related to Colored Schools follows:
"In the following list (African-American teachers in Warren County) is noted each teacher connected with the negro schools and the total amount received for the term, up to March 1, 1921, same representing five months. The names of the negro schools are not listed but a copy of the said schools is filed with the Chancery Clerk, Mr. J. D. Laughlin, before any warrants are issued. These schools are established by the County Board of Education. It will be seen that some of the teachers are receiving very small amounts. These taught for only a few days. However, the records on file with the chancery clerk, will show the exact number of days taught by each and the school and the number and location of the same. The negro schools are listed from No. 45 to 163 and the teachers are placed in that order, in this outline, in order that this list and the amounts may be checked with ease and accuracy."
Total for operation of colored
schools for the first five months
of 1920-21 school
term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10,931.00
White Teachers salaries range between $650 and $750 while the African-American teacher range between $120 and $165 for a 5 to 6 month school year. Year was shortened to allow children to work in the fields. Contrary to the White schools, there seem to be no Drivers listed . There are 80 teachers listed above.
Below is some research on various people in this list of teachers. The census records which list occupation only list 3 of the 13 people I have researched as teachers. An eighth grade education was deemed adequate for these schools, There was very little college training for African-American teachers.
Olivia Martin: 1920 census says she is 31 and a teacher married to Andrew Martin. Her mother is Mattie Henry. Ward 5 District 0074 Celestine Jones, 1900 census has a Celestine
H. Jones, age 11, making her 31 in 1920. She is attending school in 1900. No 1920 information. Fostoria District 0131 Henry P. Prentiss age 52, farmer married to Winnie Prentiss. Beat 2 District 0079 Mary Brown: 1920 say she is 41 married to Richard Brown and she is a housewife. Lives on Lovers Lane, Ward 1 District 0065.
Husband Richard is farmer Mary House: no record Pearlie Hall: 1920 census says she is 23 and is a laborer. Janie Porter: 1920 census says she is 47 and a housewife of farmer Berry Porter. Beat 45, District 0084. Lucinda Kyle: 1910 census says she is 8 years old, so would be 18 in 1920. Stepdaughter of Tobuss and Lucinda Billenger., Beat 3, District 0066 Eliza Owens: 1920 census says she is 28 years old and no profession. She is married to farmer Edward Owens. Beat 4, District 0084. Lorena Bass: 1910 census has a Lorainne Bass, age 4. She would be 14 in 1920. Beat 3 District 0065 Rosa Turner: 1910 census says she is a teacher, age 33. married to George Turner, four children. Ward 4 District 0058. 1920 census says she is 37 and married to George Turner, Baldwin Ferry Road and Davis Hill , Beat 4 District 0115. W. M. Monroe: A 1918 WWI Draft Registration card has a Willam Morgan Monroe, age 45, born 1873. Cedars, Warren, MS. He is farmer and married to Katie Monroe. The 1920 census says he is a farmer. Address Redbone District 0082.
One of the most interesting teacher I have researched is:
George Washington Stith, 1920 census says he is 73, and a lecturer in the county school. Parents were from Virginia. He is married to Elizabeth Stith and they live 703 First North St. He was a teacher in 1910 also. Ward 1 District 0066. Stith was a most remarkable man. He was born into slavery in 1847. During Reconstruction he was given the opportunity to study at Iowa College in Grinnell, Iowa. In the Iowa College 1868–1869 yearbook he is listed as from Chester, Iowa and is a first year student. He is listed from Vicksburg in the Iowa College 1869–1870 year book. Stith opened a bank account with the Freedman's Bank in 1870. The 1870 U. S. freedman's Bank Records list him as teaching in Warren County and his age is 24. He is employed by Supt. Hosie (sp?). His siblings are Chloe, Nathan, Harry, Sophia Virginia and Julianna. His parents are Henry and Lucy. Click his name above to learn more about this remarkable man and his extended family. They were deeply involved education of African-American children during the 19th and 20th century.
March 11, 1921—Vicksburg Evening Post has an article written by School Superintendent J. H. Culkin, entitled "Article Concerning Our Colored Schools". He assures the citizens that no money will come from the existing school budget to support the grant from the Julius Rosenwald Fund which will fund the construction of 15 colored schools. The schools will be strictly industrial. Farming, carpenter work, industrial and manual training features form the basis of all activities. "Under no circumstances, will there be any conveyances for the purpose, there being no necessity for same." Supt. Culkin continues, "The whole proposition is an economic. These schools can be made the means of retaining our present labor supply and will assist in recalling many of the negroes who have left Warren county. He supports his argument, "Since the county will pay only about 10 percent of the entire cost of these buildings or about $7,000, and in all probabilities very much less, it being assumed that these schools might be the means of retaining only seven families for 10 years. Assuming that each of the families would have an earning power of as low as $200 per year, the amount of money invested would be regained."
March 26, 1921—Vicksburg Evening Post has an article dedicate to "The Annual Exhibit of the country colored school children and members of the community clubs. It states, "There are 60 colored schools and 60 community clubs in Warren county." Ir further states that the "Work of colored teachers and the colored pupils has heretofore been done under very adverse circumstances—the lack of proper school buildings and equipment. Things will be different hereafter for 15 fine colored schools, which Rosenwald, the Chicago philanthropist helped to build, are now in the course of construction and will be ready for occupancy when the next school term opens the coming fall." It goes on, "The erection of the schools has filled the teachers and pupils, in fact the whole colored population of the county, with a great deal of enthusiasm, and everyone feels that equipment will be forthcoming and the good work of the schools and their usefulness will be much greater in the future than in the past." It comments on the recently ending of the school year, March! Colored school were only open for five months. Apparently starting after the fall harvest and ending before spring planting. The article describes in detail the student's exibits and the domestic skills the students have been taught. It mentions Olivia Martin and M. B. R. Bowman who hold and held the position of "Jeanes agent for the colored schools. It mentions two school, Dunbar and Cementery. Mrs. Bowman is quoted in the article as believing the new school will be an example of neatness and orderliness resulting in negroes in the county will no longer be content to live in ill-kempt and ramshackle huts. "Better schools mean better homes and better citizens and a better country." The article mentions that last session school 92 won the prize for the best equipped among those in the county for colored pupils. It is a one-room building on the thoroughfare leading from the old Jackson road to the new cross-state highway. It looks small and antiquated when compared with any of the 15 new schools being erected.
May 17, 1921—Vicksburg Evening Post reports commencement exercises for students at the Cherry Street Colored School. Myrtle Estella Shannon, granddaughter of teacher George Washington Stith is a graduate. The class performs the play, The Princess by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Magnolia Avenue also has it closing exercises. They preform scenes from As You Like It by William Shakespeare.
August 27, 1921—Vicksburg Evening Post reports that the Rosenwald foundation provided initially a quota of $75,000 for one year to the State of Mississippi for its Negro Schools. The fund was exhausted in one month and the Fund added an additional amount of $15,800, making the total $90,800. (An error in the article says the total of the two is $95,8000.)
1923–Replacing an earlier school on Cherry Street, Magnolia High School was built here in 1923. J.G.H. Bowman was the school's principal from 1906 to 1944 and helped develop a strong college preparatory curriculum. Professor Bowman is seen in the upper right of the photo at right. In 1940, the school was selected to participate in a secondary school study funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Of the sixteen African-American schools selected in the southeast, Magnolia was the only school from Mississippi. The school was renamed Bowman High School in 1944.
The original name of Kings Elementary/Junior High School was Sandy Bottom School. Sandy Bottom School was a Rosenwald School built in 1920-21. It was the result of a collaborative effort by Booker T. Washington, an African-American leader, educator, the president and founder of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and Julius Rosenwald, a German-Jew, clothier, philanthropist and president of Sears, Roebuck & Co. in Illinois. They built more than 5,000 schools, shops and teachers’ homes in southern states from 1912 to 1932 to educate African-American children. Twenty-eight Rosenwald schools were built in Warren County. African-Americans, known as Negroes and Coloreds at the time, contributed to the funding for the schools.
In 1951, Kings School was built at its present location. Students from Rosenwald Schools, namely, Sandy Bottom (Kings), Lake (near St. Mark M. B. Church), Kings Point, Waltersville, National Cemetery, Blakely, Katzenmeyer, Ballground, Brunswick (Eagle Lake) Schools began attending Kings School in 1952. Kings School discontinued being a junior high school in 1970 following the integration of neighborhood schools. Kings School served Vicksburg’s African-American community for 50 years.
Kings School produced some of Vicksburg‘s finest citizens. Former students became accountants, actors, bankers, carpenters, doctors, educators, engineers, computer programmers/technicians, farmers, ﬁremen, laborers, lawyers, law enforcement officers, managers, professional football players, to name a few. The school is presently Kings Head Start Center, a Mississippi Action for Progress facility. The first Kings School “All Classes” Reunion was recently held and plans are to have another reunion in two years.
Additional Information: In 1960 W. J. Jones was principal. Oscar W. Howard also served as principal at Kings sometime before he retired in 1973. He died in 1978. Graduate of Alcorn State University. Principal at Temple High School was W. C. Armstrong, Mary Reed Elementary
Sandy Bottom School, below, was of the three-teacher type. Its total cost was $5000 in 1920–21. Likely built on 2 acres. The funding source, Negroes $1500, Public $2500 and Rosenwald Foundation $1000.
Brochure of Kings School marker dedication
Vicksburg Post Article
Three Warren County landmarks earn state historic markers By John Surratt Published 5:50 pm Saturday, July 28, 2018
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has selected three Warren County landmarks for state historic markers. The markers, which are approved by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, recognize significant people, events, and movements across Mississippi. The markers are funded by sponsoring groups that work with the department to create the text for each marker, which will be fabricated and installed at the expense of the requesting group.
To qualify, a site must have unique historical significance to the local community, the state, or the nation. Two of the Warren County markers recognize sites in Vicksburg — Bowmar Elementary School on Bowmar Avenue and the home Dr. Jane McAllister on Main Street— and the site of Fort St. Pierre on Mississippi 3. Sponsored by the Vicksburg Warren School District,
Bowmar Elementary was built in 1939 by the Jackson architectural firm of Overstreet and Town and is notable as one of Mississippi’s earliest and most intact examples of International Modernist architecture, a style introduced to the state by Overstreet and Town between 1937 and 1941. The school was built by the Federal Works Agency and is designated a Mississippi Landmark property. Architect A. Hays Town later opened his own office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is well-known for his designs.
Dr. Jane Ellen McAllister
The McAllister home marker is sponsored by the city of Vicksburg. Dr. Jane McAllister was born in Vicksburg in 1899. Her father worked as a mail carrier, and her mother was a schoolteacher. McAllister graduated high school at 15, and four years later graduated from Talladega College in Alabama in 1919, where she became the youngest Talladega graduate by earning her degree at the age of 19. In 1929, she became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She taught psychology and education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee, Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other schools until her retirement in 1970. Dr. McAllister died in January 1996, at the age of 96.
“I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving,” said Yolande Robbins, who knew McAllister. “She was a real history maker. Her second cousin was Dr. Bettye Gardner, and we grew up together, so we spent a lot of time at Dr. McAllister’s house and we both not only knew Dr. McAllister, but her father and mother and sister and brother.”
Photograph contributd by Joy Gee, School Class 1900-1910, in Vicksburg, MS. Young woman, fourth from right looks like a young Dr. Jane Ellen McAllister.