Monday, September 3, 2012

African-American Public Schools in Nashville and Davidson County

The following information was compiled by Debie Oeser Cox in 2006. 

                                                                        Office Board of Education
                                                                                    June 17, 1867
                        The following is the determination of the Board in reference to Education the colored children of the city.

                        The City Council having impressed upon the Board of Education the duty of selecting locations and providing suitable buildings for the accommodation of the colored scholastic population of the city, in carrying out the determination already arrived at by both the Board and the City Council, to bring the colored children of the city under the provisions of the Existing City Laws relating to the Public schools and the Education of our children, The Board of Education have concluded and agreed that
                        1st The proposition heretofore submitted for the sale to the city of the property in North Nashville known as “Belle View” be accepted for school purposes, and that the sale be consummated and the titled passed by the proper parties without delay.
                        2   That Messers Fall, Cotton & Weakley are hereby appointed a committee of this Board to select proper buildings and negotiate for the rent or ___ of such as they may deem necessary for the accommodation of  colored pupils.
                        3   That publication be immediately made by the Supt., for application of colored children who may desire to attend these schools. And that the committee herein named shall provide school-room sufficient for the comfortable accommodation of all who may be registered for admission.
                        4   That the Supt. be requested to adopt such measures as will most speedily secure the Enrollment of the colored scholastic population in order that the Board and Committee may know the number of Teachers, and the Extent of room necessary to be provided to carry out the wishes of the city authorities and of this Board for the Education of the colored children.

                                                                        Friday July 5th 1867

            Board of education met pursuant to adjournment.  All present bar Tarbox.  The special committee on colored school buildings was directed to investigate the subject of purchasing lots adjacent to Belle View.
After full discussion of the questions arising out of the subject of organizing the colored schools the Board adjourned till Monday the 8th met at 8 am. 

                                                                        Monday 8th July 1867

            Messers T. W. Haley and T. H. Hamilton were elected Principals of the colored schools at salaries of $150 per month, and their duties to begin at once, and continue 12 months.
            The Prest. was directed to advertise in the Public papers that colored children Eligible to school privileges shall apply for tickets of admission for the next ten weeks, after Wednesday July 10th at the office of the Board to Profs. Haley and Hamilton.
            The Secry was directed to Enquire of all applicants for positions as teachers not Elected of the will teach in the colored schools.

                                                                        July 15, 1867

            Board met on the call of the President.  All the members were present.  Measures were discussed to diffuse more widely among the colored people information upon the Subject of coming forward to register their children, and the Prest. directed to have a circular and posters printed and circulated.

                                                                        July 26, 1867

            The Board discussed at length the various points urged against the colored schools and conferred with Genl. Carlin Messers McKee & Knight connected with the U. S. Govt. & private Efforts to Educate Freedmen in our midst.
            Genl. Carlin asked for _____ information upon several points so that he might decide whether to advise colored people to register their children in the schools.
            A special committee consisting of Messer Fall, Jones, Knowles & Tarbox was directed to propose an answer to Genl. Carlin’s questions and report tomorrow at 10 A. M.

                                                                        July 27, 1867

            The special committee made a report which was adopted and the Sec. ordered the following letter to Genl. Carlin in accordance therewith.

                                                            Office Board of Education
                                                                        July 27, 1867
To Maj. Genl Carlin
Asst. Com. Freedmans Bureau
usa Nashville Tenn
            In response to the Enquiries made of the Board of Education by yourself yesterday, they have the honor to make the following answer.  The Board of Education represents to Genl. Carlin that it is the purpose of the City Authorities of Nashville to Extend to the colored people of this City the advantages of a system of Free Public Education in all respects the same as in now in successful operation for the white children of the place.
            To secure uniformity in all particulars, the Board proposes to grade scholars and Teachers in the same manner throughout schools, and to take from the Corps of Teachers of whom they have Experience as successful instructors the ____ of the schools and met then  to organize the colored schools Exactly as they have organized the white schools.
            It is their purpose to select Teachers for the colored schools from the list of Applicants for positions in the white schools, Equal to those appointed to the white schools, and Endeavor to Secure the same results in the same way from both ____.
            And further they resolved that nothing of a ____  political or partisan nature, in social or religious matters shall be inculcated in these schools; but that all the subjects selected and taught shall be such as tend healthfully to develop the minds and ____ of the pupils.

                                                By order of the Board
                                                            J. M. Hoyte
                                                                        Sec. B of E.
            The time allotted to register colored children was extended to Sept 1st.  The President having signified his intention to be absent form the city for a month Mr. J. B. Knowles was chosen Prest. pro tem. 
                                                                        Aug. 7, 1867
            The Secretary was directed to address Genl. Carlin and request from him the use of the property knows as the gun factory in South Nashville for the purpose of opening a colored school.

                                                                        Aug. 26, 1867
            Response from Col. Palmer in regard to possession of gun factory refers the Board to the Trustees of Central University as the same is in their possession. 
                                                                        Aug. 29, 1867
            A communication was received from Mr. James Ogden offering to cooperate with the Board of Education, by taking a specified number of colored children and Educating them at the Expense of the city.
            The secretary was directed to answer that the Board had no legal authority to accept his proposal and that they were prepared to instruct all the colored children who had registered.
            Bill of W. Freeman &c $119.40 for papering at Belleview school was ordered paid.
            The following persons were chosen teachers in the colored schools. Viz
                                    Mr. Eli Skipworth salary $600 per an
                                    Mr. A. T. Clark               600        
                                    Miss Maria Calvert        550      
                                    Mr. A. M. Nowland        650      
                                    Mr.            Tunstan         550      
                                    Mr.            Hancock        550      

                                                            Monday Sept. 2, 1867
            The following ____ of Teachers was made in the colored schools.
            Lincoln Hall  
                                                Mr. Haley       Principal
                                                Mr. Skipworth }
                                                Miss Gregory   }
                                                            Miss Calvert     }assistants
                                                            Mrs. Nowland   }

                        Belleview School       Mr. Hamilton    Principal
                                                            Mr. Hancock   }
                                                            Mr. Funstan    }assistants
                                                            Mr. Clark        }

                                                                        Sept. 4, 1867
            The committee on procuring lease on Lincoln Hall were directed to close the matter on the best possible terms.

                                                            Sept. 19, 1867
            ____ that the city council be requested to appropriate $5000 for fitting up of the colored school Building, and for the payment of salaries for September.

The Annual Report of the Board of Education of the Public Schools of Nashville for 1871 lists two African-American Schools, Belleview and Trimble. 

Belleview School was located at 305 North Summer Street. The school was a two story brick structure containing seven rooms and housed grades one through six.  Average attendance was 280.  Mr. G. W. Hubbard was the Principal and the teachers were:  Miss M. R. Smith, Miss Kate Lyon, Mrs. S. A. Hubbard, Miss S. R. Austin, Mrs. L. P. Guyer, Mrs. M. F. Lewis and Mrs. E. M. Robinson.

Trimble School was in a two story brick building that was presented to the city by John Trimble, Esq. and was located at 524 South Market Street.  The average number of students attending was 137 in grades one through four.

The names of over 50 traditional African-American schools were compiled by Debie Cox at the request of Delores Black-Kennedy Director of Nashville's, The Black Yellow Pages, Inc.  Some of the schools were in existence for only a few years and have long been forgotten.  Some of the old buildings are still in use by the school system.  The Pearl High School building now houses Martin Luther King Academic Magnet School and Meigs High School is now Meigs Magnet Middle School.

The name of the school and a location is given.  Bear in mind as you read, that the old records did not always give the name of the road the school was actually located on, and instead gave the nearest turnpike or main road as a location. 

  Ashcraft School                      Crocker and Herman Streets
  Belleview School (city)           5th Avenue near Jefferson
  Belleview School (county)      Harding Road
  Briarville School                      Near Federal Cemetery, Gallatin Road
  Brown's School                       Charlotte Pike
  Bytown School                         Hillsboro Road
  Cameron School                     5th Avenue S. and Demonbreun
  Carter School                          12 Avenue S.
  Cedar Grove School               Stewart Ferry Pike
  Clifton School                          40th Avenue N.
  Cruzen School                         McKinney Street
  Dry Creek School                   Gallatin Road
  Ensley School                         Nolensville Road
  Evan's Hill School                   Lebanon Pike
  Federal School                       Centennial Blvd.
  Flat Rock School                    Nolensville Pike
  Ford Greene School              26th Avenue N.
  Goodlettsville School             Dickerson Road
  Granny White Pike School    Granny White Pike
  Hadley School                         Pearl Street
  Haynes School                       Trinity Lane
  Head School                           Jo Johnston
  Jimtown School                      Elm Hill Pike
  Knowles School                     Grant
  Lawrence School                   South Street near Kayne Avenue
  McWhirtersville                       Lebanon Road
  Meigs High School                Georgia Street (now Ramsey St)
  Merry School                          Springhead Street
  Mt Zeno School                      Elm Hill Pike
  Mt. Nebo School                    Murfreesboro Road
  Mt. Pisgah School                 Edmondson Road
  Napier School                        Robertson Street
  Neely's Bend School             Neely's Bend Road
  Pasquo School                      Harding Road
  Pearl High School                 17th Avenue N.
  Peebles School                     15th Ave. N.
  Providence School                Nolensville Pike
  Rock City School                   Cahal Avenue Area
  Rock Hill School                    Gatewood near Meridian
  Rockvale School                    Hobson Road
  Scotts Hollow School            Lebanon Road
  Scruggs Chapel School        Couchville Pike
  Stateland School                    Lebanon Road
  Trimble Bottom                       East Hill Street
  Union School                          Murfreesboro Road
  Washington School               23rd Avenue N.