DuBois School (Mt. Sterling, KY)
In August of 1964, as African American parents were preparing to boycott the city schools to protest a change in the school integration plans, the DuBois School was burned down. The fire was the result of arson, as was the fire that destroyed the African American Masonic Hall.
The DuBois school, probably built in 1939, was an African American school with grades 1-12. The Mt. Sterling police department was put on alert against any attempt to also burn the three schools for whites.
The FBI and Kentucky State Department of Public Safety investigated the fire; the DuBois School fire had been set while the Mt. Sterling Fire Department was answering a call at one of the white schools on the opposite end of town.
The Masonic Hall was owned by W. D. Banks, an undertaker who was also a leader and active member of the Mt. Sterling NAACP Branch. Banks had been meeting with the school board to discuss a change in plans to integrate two grades rather than the original plan to integrate the entire school system. The change had come about after it was learned that more African American students than were expected had registered to attend the school for whites.
With the burning of DuBois School, an emergency school board meeting was held behind closed doors, and Mt. Sterling school classes were suspended until September 8, 1964.
Louisville lawyer James A. Crumlin, Sr. was hired by African American parents in preparation for a lawsuit to force the schools to integrate. The Mt. Sterling school system was one of the last to integrate in Kentucky. For more see "All-Negro school in Mt. Sterling, KY, destroyed by fire," North Adams Transcript, 8/31/1964, p. 1; and "School Desegregation" records at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.