African American Schools in Hart County, KY
Between 1866 and 1870, there were two colored schools in Hart County, KY, a freedmen school in Munfordville and one in Woodsonville. The schools were supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [see NKAA entry for Freedmen Schools]. There were two districts with colored common schools in 1875, when the school commissioner failed to report the schools to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and no appropriations were made from the public fund, thus the school commissioner had to pay $36 for the 146 students and he was later reimbursed [source: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, December 1875, v.2, Chapter 798, pp.575-576]. The Halltown Colored School opened around 1878 and closed in 1953, according to the marker outside the school house that was restored by the Mt. Gilboa Baptist Church; it was the last one room colored school in Hart County.
In 1880, Maria Cox was a school teacher in Hardyville, along with John W. Harlow who was also a preacher, and in 1900 Lettia Rowe was a school teacher in Priceville [sources: U.S. Federal Census]. By 1886, Hart County had 10 colored school districts [see NKAA entry for African American Schools, 1886]. Two years later, there were 15 colored schools: 12 schools held for 5 months; 2 schools held for three months; and no teacher was found for the school in the smallest district [source: Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1888, pp.185-187]. During the 1901-02 school term the Negro teachers earned an average monthly salary of $31.56, and during the 1902-03 term they earned an average of $29.67 [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, July 1901-June 1903, p.354].
In 1925, there were 10 colored elementary schools in Hart County, each with one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67]. During the 1932-1933 school term, a 3rd class high school was added to the Horse Cave Colored School and there were 15 students who were taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1932-1933, p.49]. In the 1940 U.S. Census, the following Hart County teachers were included: Verd R. A. Butler; Henrietta G. Best; Newton S. Thomas in Horse Cave; Miss Mae Willie Wood in Munfordville; and Gladys Woodson. Newton S. Thomas was the school principal at Horse Cave Colored School from 1937-1957, he was also the basketball coach [source: Kentucky Civil Rights Oral History Project, Interview with Newton Thomas, May 28, 2002, Conducted by Betsy Brinson]. When Thomas arrived at the school, there were grades 1-12 with 128 students taught by 6 teachers and Thomas taught the high school with one other teacher. In 1955, Carter Dowling in Munfordville was the largest colored elementary school in Hart County, with 195 students and 5 teachers [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.214]. The Memorial High School and Munfordville High School began to integrate during the 1956-57 school term according to the Kentucky Public School Directory, pp.627-628.
- Colored Schools (15)
- Munfordville Freedmen School
- Woodsonville Freedmen School
- Hardyville School
- Priceville School
- Horse Cave School
- Halltown School
- Carter Dowling School
*Kentucky Civil Rights Oral History Project