Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another piece of the puzzle ....

Another vague handwritten reference to the African-American school in Murfreesboro (see previous entry)....

"The Elizabeth City North Carolinian for August 12, 1869 has an article on commencement exercises at Murfreesboro for Lincoln Institute, taught by Miss Lydia Warrick. Must be same school previously known as O.O. Howard School. Had 60 or more students, orations by Master James J. Reynolds and Master George Raynolds, both students. Remarks by Rev. L. Washington Boone, Joseph P. Waever, Simon Collins, Esq. and the Hons. William Reid and J.T. Reynolds. Next issue, that of August 19, 1869, contains column-length address delivered on above occasion by J.T. Reynolds. of Northampton."

It seems that the school was larger than I imagined - 60 students ! But whoever wrote this note appears to have made a mistake about the name of the school. He/she mentions that it was "previously known as O.O. Howard", but that seems backwards because the reference in 1870 refers to it as O.O. Howard, while this reference in 1869 calls it the Lincoln Institute. It was probably originally called Lincoln Institute and then became the O.O. Howard School.

"O.O. Howard" is for Union Civil War General Oliver O. Howard. From May 1865 to July 1874, General Howard was commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

And "Lincoln Institute" ... well, I think we can assume that was named for Abraham Lincoln.

We have citations for exact dates - anyone want to try to track down the microfilm for the Elizabeth City North Carolinian for 1869 and send the complete articles?

If we all add to the pieces we'll quickly solve this historic puzzle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nineteenth Century African-American Education in Murfreesboro

(I'm not even going to try to apologize for my long-term neglect of this blog - but I am going to try once again to start adding entries on a regular basis. Stay tuned.)

I recently came across a historical reference in a note written decades ago. I found it very exciting and want to share:

"See Raleigh Daily Standard, Feb 23, 1870, for letter from "Joannes" at Murfreesboro re O.O. Howard School for colored youths there, taught by Miss Lydia Warrick, in operation then for three years. Taught orthography, math, geography, grammar and science. Had rented school heretofore but now in process of buying a lot and hope to build on it. Plan to add a Female Industrial Department. (A Hertford County Deed of 1869 shows Eley Carter selling lot on north side of Broad Street, to William Reid, Phillip Weaver and Andrew Reynolds as a place for a Negro school house and church.)"

I don't have access to the Raleigh Daily Standard, but I would greatly appreciate it if someone in NC could try to get a copy of that article. I imagine the newspaper is on microfilm and available through some of the larger research libraries. Maybe try Whitaker Library at Chowan?

Only two years after the Civil War, and Murfreesboro's African-American community had an established school for it's youth. What an amazing achievement, and a great topic for the Murfreesboro Historical Association to be researching and promoting through educational programs with the local schools.

MHA this is a gift from the past ---- now let's see what you can do with it.