African American schools have rich history


In July 2015 the Clinton County Historical Society published The Schools of Clinton County, Ohio. The book was compiled, written and edited by Bernie Quigley and Kay Fisher. The volume is also dedicated to Bernie Quigley (1948-2014).

Kay Fisher, Director of the Historical Society, told me that Bernie Quigley knew more about Clinton County history than anyone she knew.

Since February is Black History Month I thought it would be appropriate to publish a list of schools in Clinton County that were used exclusively for the education of African Americans or, as the history records state, “colored schools” or “schools for negroes.”

I have been aware of schools in our county that served this community, but this book opened my eyes to a significantly larger list than I had imagined. In 2014, with the help of Evelyn Burns and Eleanor Harris, the three of us planned a remembrance of the closing of Midland School in Wilmington that served black students through grade seven. It opened in 1884 and closed in 1952 and for several years thereafter it was used as an integrated school for kindergarten children.

It was the last school in Clinton County used exclusively for black children.

The educational opportunities for black children mentioned in the above book states, “The school law of 1853 required school boards to establish separate schools for African American children if there were more than thirty in the area; or they could operate integrated schools if no parents objected. In 1878, boards of education were required to provide free education for all, although they could maintain segregated schools.”

Thus, segregated schools existed until 1952 (the Midland school in Wilmington).

Following is a list of the schools utilized specifically for the education of African American children. I have included, when available, their township locations, dates they were in operation and specific locations.

Schoolssolely for African American students:

Adams Township Schools:

Colored School District No. 9: located north of Lebanon-Wilmington Road and west of State Route 350. The school operated from 1859 to 1876.

Clark Township Schools:

Martinsville Colored School: located on Cemetery Road and was known to exist in 1876.

Old Canada School: located on the east side of Oak Grove, north of Lytle Route and south of the intersection of Canada road. The school was at this location in 1859.

Green Township Schools:

New Antioch Colored School: located on School Road and was in use in 1876.

Richland Township:

Black School: located on Hulse Street in Sabina.

Union Township:

Clarksburgh School: was in use in 1867.

Midland School: moved from other location, but built in 1884 and desegregated in 1952. Located at the corner of Grant and Douglas Streets in Wilmington.

Old Hill Top School or Old Round Top: located at the corner of Columbus and Lincoln Streets in Wilmington and possibly opened from 1853 to 1865.

Wayne Township:

Nance School: located on Nance Road, this one-room school was probably built in 1870 and operated into the 1890s.

Point Isabel School: located on Point Isabell Road and was operating in 1851.

Webster School: This school was located on the east side of State Route 72, north of Luttrell and Nance Road. It was in operation in 1852. Each township was divided into sub districts. In Wayne Township, the school board minutes indicated that District 3 contained a colored school as did District 1. Some details about the schools are indicated, but their location is not.

In conclusion, there is no doubt there is much information missing and possibly some mistakes, but the History Center and the author of this article would be pleased to receive any information related to the topic – feel free to contact them. Photos of the buildings or the students or names of those who attended would be very welcome. After being scanned they would be returned to the owners.

This is an unidentified early school photo in Clinton County. is an unidentified early school photo in Clinton County. Clinton County History Center | Courtesy photo County History Center | Courtesy photo

By Neil Snarr

For The News Journal

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