Defunct: Schools and Academies

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Arkadelphia Baptist Academy

The Arkadelphia Baptist Academy in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was one of many schools founded across the South by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which was headquartered in New York. Beginning in 1865, the northern Baptists joined other denominations in the effort to educate the recently freed slaves across the South. In an article published in the New York Times in 1897, the society’s corresponding secretary, General Thomas J. Morgan, noted that, after the war, “the problem presented itself of the intellectual elevation of 4,000,000 human beings, just emerging from a degrading bondage.” During the thirty-two-year period between the end of the war and Morgan’s statements, the Home Mission Society had spent about $3 million, and its more than thirty institutions …

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, located in Arkadelphia (Clark County), was a co-educational elementary and secondary school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board was part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which founded schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The board began opening schools for freed slaves as early as the 1860s, but the movement arrived late in Arkansas. It was not until 1889, when a new presbytery was organized in the state and large numbers of blacks from the eastern states were settling in Arkansas, that the board felt confident to begin its work in the state. The academy in Arkadelphia had earlier roots, however. According to historian Inez Moore Parker, it was …

Bates School House

The Bates School House is located in the unincorporated community of Bates (Scott County). The schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. On May 1, 1915, James and Rosa Haywood donated 5.3 acres to the Bates and Gipson Special School District to build the schoolhouse. The building is estimated to have been constructed between 1916 and 1917 by the Bates community. The school initially provided educational instruction for students from first grade through high school. First- through sixth-grade classes were located on the first floor, while seventh- through twelfth-grade classes were located on the second. In the 1950s, Scott County began consolidating school districts, which in turn led to the closure of the …

Booker T. Washington High School (Jonesboro)

Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), also known as Jonesboro Industrial High School (IHS), was the first high school for African Americans in northeastern Arkansas. After some setbacks, BTW ultimately became a source of pride in the black community, with students coming from across the region to attend the school. BTW closed in 1966 when Jonesboro’s public schools were completely desegregated. In the twenty-first century, the E. Boone Watson Community Center and African American Cultural Center stands on the former BTW site. After a severe snowstorm in December 1917 destroyed the city auditorium in Jonesboro, the Colored School Improvement Association (CSIA) of Jonesboro lobbied the Jonesboro School Board for the bricks from the dilapidated building to …

Boswell School

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of the many government programs designed to help combat the economic hard times of the Depression, constructed a new school building in Boswell (Izard County) in the mid-1930s. The original school had been established not long after the founding of the community in the early 1800s. The structure built by the WPA is a rectangular, single-story, fieldstone masonry classroom building with a central porch on the western end with a large projecting gable roof. Entrance is made through double-hung doors on the west side with two nine-over-nine pane windows and two stationary six-pane windows on each side. Two large bay windows cover much of the eastern side. The southern side has two large windows …

Caddo Valley Academy

Caddo Valley Academy (CVA) was founded in Womble (Montgomery County) in 1921. Though the private school was open for a relatively short amount of time, it had a lasting impact on the residents of Womble, which was later known as Norman. Through a blended curriculum of standard academics and biblical teachings, CVA provided a strong educational foundation for its students. Dr. John Tilman Barr Jr. established CVA. Barr was born in 1886 and devoted much of his life to working with children. Though he was frequently ill, Barr originally aspired to be a lawyer and politician. However, he came to believe that God had instructed him to become a minister and so devoted his life to the Presbyterian Church. Barr’s …

Cedar Grove School No. 81

Located five miles north of Pocahontas (Randolph County) in the Brockett community is the Cedar Grove School No. 81. The school opened after a redistricting of Randolph County school districts in 1890 and offered classes through the eighth grade. The original school building served the local community until it was destroyed by a tornado on March 30, 1938. The building that replaced it held classes until the school district consolidated with the Pocahontas School District in 1949. After consolidation, the building served for a time as a meeting place for the Brockett Home Extension Club and as a community building. Cedar Grove School No. 81 is a Greek Revival–style building with the original well house and outhouse. The well house …

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School was a private school for African-American children operated in Forrest City (St. Francis County) by the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas from 1923 until 1968. It was closely related to Christ Church Mission, an African-American congregation founded in 1921. The mission and school were founded by the Right Reverend Edward T. Demby, the African-American suffragan (assistant) bishop for “Colored Work” in the Diocese of Arkansas and in the southwestern province of the national Episcopal Church. Bishop Demby sought to build a thriving African-American ministry in eastern Arkansas and also saw the need for quality education in academic and vocational skills for the black children of Forrest City and the surrounding county. He requested and received …

Clarke’s Academy

Clarke’s Academy was a private school that operated between 1867 and 1905 in Berryville (Carroll County). The school earned a reputation for the quality of its work, the accomplishments of many of its alumni, and the integrity and dedication of its founder, Isaac A. Clarke. Isaac Asbury Clarke was born on March 22, 1837, in Overton County, Tennessee. In 1844, after the death of his father in 1841, his mother moved to Carroll County, Arkansas. Clarke attended Berryville Academy and then Cane Hill College in Washington County. After teaching school for a time, he entered the University of Missouri. Following a visit home in 1861, he was advised that it was dangerous for him to go north again. He enlisted …

Cold Water School

The Cold Water School, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in the former village of McPhearson (Baxter County) and was one of the earliest schools in Baxter County. The first building was constructed in the late 1880s, as population growth had necessitated a school. The second building, which still stands in the twenty-first century, was built between 1920 and 1926. This one-room schoolhouse was used as a school, church, and community center. The Cold Water School is the oldest and only surviving structure in McPhearson and is located twenty-five miles south of Mountain Home (Baxter County). As early as 1829, the Arkansas Territorial Legislature passed laws concerning public schools. The first laws allowed the …

Colored Industrial Institute

The Colored Industrial Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was one of the first Catholic-supported schools for African-American children in Arkansas. The school was established by Father John Michael Lucey, a white Confederate veteran, who was considered progressive for speaking out against lynching and protesting efforts to pass separate coach legislation. Planning for the school began in May 1889. Lucey approached leading citizens of Jefferson County to fill the school’s board of directors. This integrated board included wealthy black Pine Bluff citizens, including Ferdinand (Ferd) Havis and Wiley Jones. Jones was also one of three members of the school’s executive committee and served as secretary. The other two executive committee members were Pine Bluff mayor J. W. Bocage and Reverend …

Consolidated White River Academy

The Consolidated White River Academy arose in the late 1800s when several African-American church groups in the Brinkley (Monroe County) area wanted to create an academy offering African-American students the opportunity for a full high school education, rather than the mere tenth-grade education available to them in the area. The goal was to provide a top-notch Christian education in a boarding school environment following a modified version of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The educational opportunities and convenient residential facilities attracted students from across the state and nation for over fifty years. The district academy project originated during the late nineteenth century with black Baptist churches in the Brinkley area. These churches worked to establish a high school, the original name of …

Cotton Plant Academy

Cotton Plant Academy, located in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County), was a co-educational boarding school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board, part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), was responsible for founding schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The first Presbyterian schools for freed slaves in the South opened in the 1860s, but the board did not open schools in Arkansas until the 1880s, when a new presbytery had been established in the state and numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling there. The Cotton Plant Academy started out in the old Jerry Clark home during the 1880s. Later, it was located in a small church near the …

Dwight Mission

Dwight Mission near Russellville (Pope County) was the first formal Protestant effort directed at the education and conversion of Native Americans in Arkansas and was one of the first Protestant missions established west of the Mississippi. The mission was established in 1820 and operated in Arkansas until 1829. The mission had been requested by Western Cherokee Principal Chief Tahlonteskee in 1818, when he visited Brainerd Mission in Georgia, sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a Presbyterian organization. The Western Cherokee was a diverse group whose previous generation had migrated into Arkansas while fleeing troubles in the Cherokee homeland at the southern end of the Appalachians, and some of the members thought it useful for their …

Fargo Agricultural School

Before the state of Arkansas made public funds available for segregated schools for black children, Floyd Brown, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, founded and operated the Fargo Agricultural School (FAS) outside Brinkley (Monroe County). From 1920 to 1949, the private residential school offered “training for the head, hands and heart” and high school educations for hundreds of black youth at a time when the United States’ black population averaged five years or less of formal schooling. In early twentieth-century Arkansas, African-American children were seldom educated beyond the primary grades. In the 1920s and 1930s, most black Southerners were sharecroppers indebted to white landowners to whom they gave a share of their crops for rent. To supplement the family income, women …

Fishback School

Fishback School was established in 1885 as Washington County School District 68. At that time, the school was about two miles southeast of Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), in an area known for its fruit orchards. Two families, the Grahams and the Boyds, donated one-half acre each from their adjoining orchards as a location for the schoolhouse, a one-room wood-frame building. According to former Fishback student Truman Stamps, the school was named for William Meade Fishback, a prominent Fort Smith (Sebastian County) attorney and legislator who served as governor of Arkansas from 1893 to 1895. As was the case with most rural schools, grades one through eight were offered at Fishback. By 1915, enrollment at Fishback had grown to the …

Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls

aka: Helen Dunlap Memorial School for Mountain Girls
  The Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls, later known as the Helen Dunlap Memorial School for Mountain Girls, is considered one of the best early examples of a Mountain Mission School in Arkansas, according to historian Brooks Blevins. These schools were supported by churches of various denominations in northern states, and their purpose was to provide secondary academic and vocational education to children living in isolated mountain communities. The Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls was established around 1905 in Winslow (Washington County), a small mountain town on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. The building, known as “Boston Heights” and built by the original owners as a family residence, was donated to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Winslow by Dr. Albert …

Hinemon University School

Hinemon University School was established in 1890 at Monticello (Drew County) by an organization of local community and business leaders known as the Monticello Educational Society. As a semi-private and non-sectarian preparatory boarding school, Hinemon offered white boys and girls from across the Delta region an opportunity to obtain a quality secondary-level education. The school’s stated purpose was to “prepare pupils for university” and to give them “sufficient knowledge for good educational work as teachers or in other professions.” Students at the Hinemon University School were immersed in the study of English, mathematics, Latin, science, Greek, music, and the visual arts. They were introduced to the discipline of philosophy and to languages such as German and French. Some courses were …

Hot Springs Normal and Industrial Institute

aka: Mebane Academy
The Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, began opening schools for freed slaves in the South as early as the 1860s. However, no schools were started in Arkansas until 1889, when a new presbytery was established and significant numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling in the state. During the early 1890s, the Reverend A. E. Torrence, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, opened a parochial school for black students in Hot Springs (Garland County). He conducted it independently but did receive some aid from the Board of Missions. By 1895, there were 100 students in attendance. According to Inez Parker, while the school was …

Kingston School

The Kingston (Madison County) school district was established on January 25, 1869. As with most districts following the Civil War, the school operated only six to eight weeks a year, due to lack of funding and the children being needed for farm work. In 1916, the Reverend Elmer J. Bouher was granted permission by the Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to take charge of the abandoned church mission at Kingston. Bouher arrived later that year ready to put his “Kings Plan” into action. The plan was to (1) unite the church and school; (2) create a community building program; (3) teach health and hygiene to the entire community; and (4) improve farming methods and local roads. …

Lincoln High School (Star City)

Lincoln High School was a school for African Americans located on the northwestern side of Star City (Lincoln County) at 507 Pine Street. The school, which took its name from the county, was established in 1949 following the consolidation of black schools in the communities of Cornerville, Cole Spur, Star City, Bright Star, Sneed, Richardson, Bethlehem, Mount Olive, Saint Olive, and Sweet Home. None of these schools went beyond the eighth grade, leaving a large segment of Lincoln County’s African-American students with no local high school to attend. Charles R. Teeter was the superintendent, and Ruth Teal was hired as Lincoln’s first principal. In the first school year of Lincoln’s existence (1949–50), only grades one through nine were offered. Each …

Maynard Baptist Academy

aka: Abbott Institute
aka: Ouachita Baptist Academy
The Maynard Baptist Academy—first known as the Abbott Institute and then as the Ouachita Baptist Academy—was a boarding school founded in 1894 in Maynard (Randolph County). At the time, most schools typically had only one room and went only as far as the eighth grade. The Abbott Institute was founded in 1894 by the Abbott (or Abbot) family from the Maynard area. While they themselves lacked much education, they saw great value in educating the young people of the area and surrounding areas. Eli Abbott had been very successful in land speculation in the Fourche River and Current River bottomland while also farming. The institute drew students from a wide area of Arkansas and from other states. The school had …

Monticello Academy

Monticello Academy in Drew County was under the sponsorship of the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, which first began opening schools for freed slaves in the South in the 1860s. However, it was not until the 1880s, when a new presbytery had been established in the state and numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling there, that the board felt confident enough to begin its work in Arkansas. The academy was started in 1891 by the Reverend C. S. Mebane, who had come to Monticello (Drew County) in 1888 as the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church there. He was closely aided in his work …

Mount Pleasant Academy

The Mount Pleasant Academy was established in 1878 at Barren Fork (now Mount Pleasant) in Izard County. The two-story frame structure was situated on a hilltop overlooking the little community of about 100 people. Built with donated funds, materials, and labor, it operated under a board of directors. The area was settled during the 1850s, mostly by pioneer farmers from Tennessee and Kentucky with Scots-Irish ancestry. They established a church before building the village of Barren Fork, which was named for a creek that flows nearby and joins Poke (or Polk) Bayou in Independence County. The academy was named for the hill where it was located. It always had close ties to the two local Cumberland Presbyterian churches because most …

Mountain Crest Academy

Mountain Crest Academy was located seven miles south of Combs (Franklin County), just one mile from the Madison County line. The academy was one of a large number of schools founded by the Presbyterian Church to serve the “backward classes” of the rural mountain South. The church became interested in this home mission work around 1910 and established a large number of such schools, many of them in the Appalachian Mountains. By 1917, the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian Church in the United States, or PCUS) was supporting forty-two such schools, which served more than 2,000 students. Some of the schools also emphasized local mountain crafts. Mountain Crest was apparently the brainchild of the Reverend John W. …

Northern Ohio School

Until the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Arkansas children were taught in one-room schoolhouses, most of which were located in rural areas. Many of these schools have been destroyed, but several remain. The Northern Ohio School, a one-room schoolhouse for rural African-American students, is the only remaining one-room African-American schoolhouse in Parkin (Cross County). As a result of the expanding lumber industry, the population of Parkin grew in the first decade of the twentieth century; the town was incorporated in 1912. The primary employers were local sawmills, one of which was the Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company. It formed in 1906 as an amalgamation of smaller sawmills: the Parkin Cooperage Company and the Northern Ohio Company. The gathering of …

Oak Grove Rosenwald School

The Oak Grove Rosenwald School is located on Oak Grove Road in Oak Grove (Sevier County). The nearest landmark is New Zion Baptist Church, which is about 300 feet south of the Rosenwald School. The school was funded by the Rosenwald Fund in 1926. The school was primarily, if not exclusively, used for African-American students until its closure due to integration in the 1950s. This Rosenwald school has a floor plan created by Samuel Smith instead of a typical Rosenwald floor plan. The Oak Grove Rosenwald School was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004. The Julius Rosenwald Fund was created in 1917. Rosenwald earned his wealth from an investment in the Sears, Roebuck, and …

Okolona Male and Female Institute

aka: Okolona Academy
The Okolona Male and Female Institute was a school that operated for over seven decades in Okolona (Clark County) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Originally known as the Okolona Academy, it was the first formal school to operate in the town. The first families to settle in the Okolona area arrived in the early 1830s. A post office was established in 1858, and the population slowly grew over the next several decades. The first permanent school to open in the community began operations in 1857. Constructed on the site of an early school housed in a log cabin, this school was the first in the area to meet regularly. It was housed in a two-story wood building and was …

Old Springdale High School

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was enjoying great prosperity as a shipping and processing hub for the northwestern Arkansas fruit and vegetable industry. With the economic good times came population growth and the need for a new school building. School officials opted to demolish the town’s 1871 school and construct a new one on the same site (present-day corner of Highway 71B and Johnson Avenue). The land had been donated to Springdale School District 50 in 1901 by community leaders Millard and Ida Berry with the stipulation that the property always be used for school purposes. In the fall of 1909, Rogers (Benton County) architect Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke was hired …

Old Union School

Early residents of Randolph County settled in the Ozark Plateau area of the county. While many of these communities are gone, remnants of their existence can be seen. For the Birdell (Randolph County) community, the Old Union School survives as an example of the early history of this once thriving community. Located approximately two miles northwest of the community, the school is a prime example of what early education looked like in rural Arkansas. The early community of Birdell constructed a hewn-log school out of material readily available, which was a common building technique in early Arkansas. It is believed that the original school was built sometime prior to the Civil War. This school burned in 1910, and classes were …

Ozark Institute [School]

The Ozark Institute was built in 1845 upon the ashes of the Far West Seminary in Mount Comfort (Washington County) and provided education to students for the next quarter century. Cephas Washburn organized the Far West Seminary, and the state chartered it in late 1844. William D. Cunningham contracted to build a brick school building on land donated from the farm of Solomon Tuttle; however, the building was gutted by fire in February 1845, just before the seminary was to open for classes. The Reverend Robert Mecklin, who served on the seminary’s board of visitors, bought out Washburn’s interest after the fire. Rather than pursue a college-level school, he founded the Ozark Institute as a school for boys, a counterpart …

Ozone School

The Ozone School was built by the Works Projects Administration (WPA) to serve part of rural Johnson County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. European settlement began in the area of Ozone (Johnson County) in the early 1800s, specifically with the arrival of Major M. Gillian and Kate Gillian (sometimes spelled Gillion) in 1840. A post office was established in Ozone in 1873. The earliest schools in Johnson County were called “pay schools.” Classes were often held in private homes, and the teachers were usually itinerants. In the first part of the twentieth century, school in the Ozone area was held in a small building that also served as the Methodist church. However, by …

Parks School House

The Parks School House is located north of Highway 28 in Parks, an unincorporated community in Scott County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 6, 2002. L. K. Robertson sold the property on which the school house is situated to the Parks School District No. 39 on February 17, 1931. A temporary wooden school house was constructed on the site until it was removed for the present building to be built in 1940. Unemployment was at an all-time high for the Parks area and most of Arkansas at the time, and the Great Depression and Dust Bowl had forced farmers and their families to leave Arkansas. However, word spread about the Work Progress Administration …

Pea Ridge Academy

aka: Mount Vernon Normal College
aka: Mount Vernon Masonic College
aka: Pea Ridge Normal College
The Pea Ridge Academy, organized in 1874, was one of the earliest enduring institutions of higher education in the developing northwest Arkansas area following the Civil War. Contemporary with what is now the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the older Cane Hill College, the Pea Ridge Academy played a significant role in advancing education in Benton County. Organized as a private (or subscription) school, the academy soon entered a cooperative venture with the newly developing public school system, providing space for the public elementary and high school grades, while continuing to operate as a private trustee-governed academy offering college-level courses. Though never a large school, it sent out numerous graduates as business leaders and teachers for …

Powhatan Male and Female Academy

aka: Powhatan School House
The Powhatan Male and Female Academy, first located in a log cabin built by Andrew Imboden in 1854, was the first school in the settlement of Powhatan (Lawrence County). The school remained open for just over 100 years, closing due to consolidation in 1955. Shortly after the construction of the school, Benjamin F. Mathews was retained as its first school master. It is believed that he gave the school its name. The first school term covered just two months. Being the only school in the immediate area, it saw steady growth until forced to close due to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The academy reopened shortly after the end of the war. Apparently around 1880, the old …

Ravenden Springs School

The former Ravenden Springs School is a Craftsman-style school building in Ravenden Springs (Randolph County). Built in 1941, the one-story rectangular building operated as a school until it was closed during consolidation in 1974. The school changed ownership many times but was acquired by the town of Ravenden Springs in 1990. The school was originally built with four classrooms and a library, but the building was later renovated to be used as the local town hall and community center. The school no longer retains its original interior design, but it still possesses significant historical integrity. The first documented school in Ravenden Springs was known as the Cave School. Run by Caleb Lindsey, this school dates back to 1815, where classes …

Richard Allen Institute

The Richard Allen Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was founded in 1886 by the Reverend Lewis Johnston and his wife, Mercy. By 1887, they were being assisted by Anna E. Grenage. Rev. Johnston remained in charge of the school until his death in 1903. It was named in honor of Richard Allen, secretary of the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA). The institute was one of the earliest Presbyterian schools for African Americans founded in Arkansas. While the Board of Missions for Freedmen began opening schools for freed slaves in the South as early as the 1860s, work in Arkansas did not begin in earnest until the 1880s, when a new presbytery …

Rogers Academy

The Rogers Academy was organized in 1883 by the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS) of the Congregational Church. During its three decades, the academy trained many of the early educators who taught in the Rogers (Benton County) public schools. A number of local business and civic leaders received their secondary educations there, and musical and dramatic performances by the students and faculty made the academy a cultural center for the community. Rogers, founded in 1881, was named for C. W. Rogers, general manager of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. Rogers and his wife took a keen interest in the town and are credited with establishing the Congregational Church in Rogers. The only public school serving the new town …

Rosenwald Schools

Julius Rosenwald was one of the most significant figures in Southern black education. Although Rosenwald was a successful businessman, his philanthropic work has always overshadowed his financial success. His involvement in providing grants to build schools for African Americans across the South, including Arkansas, contributed greatly to the creation of better educational opportunities for Arkansas’s African-American population. Rosenwald was born on August 12, 1862, in Springfield, Illinois, to Jewish immigrant parents. He never finished high school or attended college but went into the clothing business instead. His philanthropy began with the support of Jewish immigrants, which surely came from his family’s heritage, and then expanded to include African Americans after he was influenced by Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Up From …

Sloan-Hendrix Academy

In 1891, the board of trustees of Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County) recommended, in part to help provide for an educated clergy, a plan to build affiliated academies. The recommendation was adopted unanimously, and five academies were organized, the second being Sloan-Hendrix Academy in Imboden (Lawrence County). Imboden was selected due to the support of the local citizens and the influence of businessman W. C. Sloan, reportedly the wealthiest man in the county. The community provided land for the campus and money for buildings and equipment. The school was established in 1899 and set to open a campus located southeast of town. The buildings were not completed on time, however, and the classes of the first session were held …

Sulphur Rock Male and Female Academy

The Sulphur Rock Male and Female Academy was a leading educational institution in northeast Arkansas. Founded in 1872 in the town of Sulphur Rock (Independence County), the one-building school operated until 1906, when it was incorporated into the local public school system. Sulphur Rock was an early settlement in northeastern Arkansas, located near Batesville (Independence County). In June 1872, a group of townspeople met to discuss the creation of a local academy; forty-four signatories to the founding document pledged a total of $2,261 for the school’s creation. The board of trustees purchased a two-and-one-half-acre plot of land upon which was built a two-story, four-room, white frame building. However, the school was closed by 1875 after John G. Martin, who alleged …

W. F. Branch High School

Located in west Newport (Jackson County) on Arrington Avenue, W. F. Branch High School served as the town’s high school for black students until its closure in 1970. After the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision in 1954, some school districts in Arkansas, such as Charleston (Franklin County), Hoxie (Lawrence County), and Fayetteville (Washington County), desegregated successfully. In 1957, the attention of the nation focused on desegregation at Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The federal government allowed school districts to utilize the Freedom of Choice plan, which allowed for more gradual integration. In Newport, for example, the all-black Branch High School and the all-white Newport High School operated separately within the same district. In …

Winchester School for Mountain Boys

The Winchester School for Mountain Boys opened near Havana (Yell County) in 1921. Named after Bishop James R. Winchester, the Episcopal bishop of Arkansas from 1911 to 1932, the school was operated by the Episcopal Church and associated with St. Barnaba’s Mission in Havana. The Winchester School was a “mountain mission school,” a type of educational institution established during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to serve children in the mountainous regions of the South, particularly Appalachia and the Ozark Plateau. The Winchester School for Mountain Boys was funded by a group of women from Little Rock (Pulaski County) and first run by the Reverend Gustave Orth, locally revered as “the Apostle of the Mountains,” and later the Reverend E. …

Winthrop School Museum

The Winthrop School Museum, the location of the former Winthrop School, is located in a two-story brick schoolhouse building at 530 Spring Street in Winthrop (Little River County). The Winthrop School Museum is a monument to the educational and community history of Winthrop, and the building is a historical representation of a rural school building in the early twentieth century. As Winthrop’s population grew in the early twentieth century, the Winthrop School was built to replace a three-room rough-plank building, located on the same site, that had previously served as the school. Construction started on the Winthrop School in 1912, and it was completed the following year. According to the Little River County deed record books, on September 19, 1908, …

Wynne Normal and Industrial Institute

The Wynne Normal and Industrial Institute was a private primary and secondary school for African Americans founded in Wynne (Cross County) in 1901 by the Reverend W. F. Lovelace, DD, who served as the school’s principal. The school operated until 1924. Born in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, in 1862, Lovelace was a Baptist minister and educator who moved to Wynne in 1887 to pastor First Baptist Church. When he arrived in Wynne, the Cross County schools had 1,424 white students and 860 black students. In 1888, Lovelace became principal of Wynne’s public school for black students and remained in the position until 1894. In 1896, Lovelace was named principal of black schools in Stuttgart (Arkansas County). He was later asked to …