African American Schools in Oldham County, KY
H. C. Marrs is credited for one of the earliest colored schools in Oldham County, KY; the school was in session in 1866, and the following year, Elijah P. Marrs took over the school for his brother, H.C Marrs, who left to teach in Lexington, KY [source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.116]. Between 1866 and 1870, there were two colored schools supported by the Freedmen's Bureau in Oldham County, KY: one school in LaGrange and one in Peewee Valley [see the NKAA entry for Freedmen Schools]. In 1880 two of the teachers in the colored schools were Lewis E. Carter, who lived in Brownsboro, and Lulie Booker who lived in Covington [source: U.S. Federal Census].
The number of colored schools had increased by 1895 when there were 8 schools with 9 teachers [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.624-629]. During the two year period, 1895-1897, all but one of the schools was in session for 5 months, and the remaining school was open longer. There was an average attendance of 232 students for 1895-96, and an average of 224 students for 1896-97. During the 1900-01 school term, three students from Oldham County attended State Normal School for Colored Persons (now Kentucky State University) [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1899-1901, p.144]. For the school year 1910-1911, the Negro teachers' average monthly salary was $60 for male teachers and $37.43 for female teachers [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Instruction, p.48]. In 1916, Romania Booker Cozzens Flournoy (1863+ - 1940) was the teacher at the Pewee Valley School [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 25-28, 1916, p.25], and she is listed again in 1924 with the name Mrs. Romania Flournoy [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 23-26, 1924, p.50].
The Pewee Valley School was one of the colored schools selected to received funding to extend the school term to 9 months [source: "Counties aided on extension of terms," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, January 1932, v.2, no.2, p.24]. In 1925, Mrs. George Retter was the teacher at the Goshen School [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 22-25, 1925, p.85]. Retter was one of 6 Negro teachers in Oldham County, when there were 242 children in the schools, and there were seven elementary schools, and there was a high school at the LaGrange School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.68]. In 1928, Mrs. Georgia Taylor, was the teacher in the Crestwood School [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1928, p.61]. Another Crestwood teacher was Mrs. Ethel Howell, who also taught at Brownsboro [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 17-20, 1929, p.46].
In 1930, J. V. Coleman was principal of the LaGrange Colored High School (Class 3) which had 14 students taught by one teacher who earned an annual salary of $810 [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1930-1931, pp.27 & 85]. By 1940, according to the U.S. Federal Census, there were at least 6 Negro teachers in Oldham County: Louise Coldwell; Ms. Lang; Grace Parrett; Melvin Strong; Maude Vaughn; and James T. Cooper who was principal of the LaGrange School, and he had been a teacher at the Crestwood School in 1935 [source: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, October-November, 1935, v.6, no.1, p.52]. The LaGrange Colored High School continued to serve the entire county, with less than 20 students being taught by one teacher until 1947 when there was an enrollment of 23 students, which was the last year the high school existed [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1947-1948, p.487]. Integration of the schools began in 1956 in the county school system with LaGrange Elementary School and St. Aloysius [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.444].
- Colored Schools (8)
- H. C. Marrs School
- LaGrange School
- LaGrange High School
- Peewee Valley School
- Brownsboro School
- Covington School
- Goshen School
- Prospect School [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-23, 1923, p.84]
*Additional information and corrections provided by Donna Russell, a Peewee Valley historian: "Romania Booker Cozzens Flournoy was actually a widow at the time she started teaching at the Pewee Valley School and [she] had at least eight living children. Her middle name was Booker. Her maiden name was Cozzens. She is buried here in Pewee Valley at our African-American cemetery, Pewee Valley Cemetery East. (See: http://www.peweevalleyhistory.org/pv-cemetery-east.html). Her husband, John Herman Flournoy, was a descendant of "Mom Beck" in the Little Colonel stories." ~Received via email 03/26/2018