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Williamsburg (KY) Colored Academy
Start Year : 1883
End Year : 1955
In 1883, the American Missionary Association (AMA) opened a church and a school in Williamsburg, KY, that was attended by both Negroes and whites. The effort was to be a copy of what had taken place at Berea. When some of the white children left the school in protest of the mixed attendance, AMA refused to change the policy, and the white children returned. The school would eventually be for whites only. The Williamsburg Colored Academy was opened for Negro children at some point in the 1880s. It began as a one room cabin for grades 1-8. Though it was claimed that there were few Negro children in the area, the school continued to grow, and by 1889 it was written that there were 307 students, Report of the Commissioner of Education [available at Google Book Search]. Rev. Henry Bond was the sole teacher of the school during the early 1900s. He is listed as a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association in the association's 1923 journal. Other teachers included Jane Arthur (mother of Henry Bond), Miss Mae Jones, Miss Ruth Bond (daughter of Henry Bond), Miss Mamie Smith, Viola Shields, Thelma Smoot Lewis, Benjamin O. Burrus Sr., and Professor Holliday S. Skillman. The Williamsburg Colored School was closed some time after 1958. According to historian, Karen McDaniel, the high schools integrated in 1955, but the African American students continued in grades 1-8 at the Williamsburg Colored School until some time after 1958. Also, thanks to McDaniel for the following information: a c.1938 photo taken in front of the schoolhouse, with teacher Thelma Smoot and the school children, is in the title Whitley County, Kentucky, History and Families, 1818-1993. The colored school building has since been converted into a residence, it is located on Hickory Street [renamed Roy Chappell Street]. This entry was suggested by Carrie Stewart, a 1942 graduate of the Williamsburg Colored School. For more see the Annual Report of the American Missionary Association, 1883, pp.23,51-52; American Missionary, vol. 37, issue 12 (Dec. 1883), pp. 376-382; and The Bonds, by R. M. Williams. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky