African American Schools in Wayne County, KY
According to an article in Overview, both African American and white settlers of Shearer Valley and Simpson Branch (then called Turkey Ridge) came together to build the first church/school house for colored and white children in Wayne County, KY. The school was built in 1868 and was named the Little Flock School and Church [source: History of Public Education of Wayne County, 1842 to 1975 by Ira Bell]. William Simpson, who was white, was the first teacher. The names of 76 Negro teachers, beginning in 1885, are listed on pages 18-19 in History of Public Education of Wayne County, 1842 to 1975 by I. Bell. There was one colored school in Wayne County in 1886, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Later other African American schools were established in the county in Dogwood, Duncan Valley, Mill Springs, Monticello, and Meadow Creek. According to the thesis of Harry F. Young, History of Education in Wayne County, pp.35-37 and 69-73, in 1890, all of the colored school buildings were log structures that in total were valued at $700. The schools were poor and the teachers were not very well prepared. During the 1895-96 school term, there were 7 colored schools in Wayne County, and the following school term there were 8 colored schools [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-97, pp.721-725]. There was one teacher at each school. Male teachers' average monthly pay was $24.75 during 1895-96, and $18.74 during 1896-97. Female teachers' average monthly pay was $25.06 during 1895-96, and $19.17 during 1896-97. The average attendance was 143 students 1895-96, and 165 students 1896-97. Looking at the 37 year period, from 1890-1927, the highest average enrollment at the colored schools in Wayne County was 191 students during the 1920-21 school term, and the lowest average attendance was 60 students during the 1917-18 school term.
There were never more than 8 teachers in the colored schools in Wayne County. In 1925, L. Iva White was the supervising teacher of the Wayne County Industrial School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.66]. The school was located in Monticello and the teacher's term of service was 7 months. The school received $350 from the Jeanes Fund. In 1931, there was a high school in the Monticello School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.78]. It was a Class 3 high school with one teacher and an average attendance of 6 students. William E. Didlicks was principal of the Monticello School. In 1940 the Negro teachers in Wayne County were Edna Bertram and Carl M. Burnside [source: U.S. Federal Census]; they were 2 of the 4 Negro teachers in Wayne County [source: "K.N.E.A. membership by counties," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.9, no.1-3, p.54]. For more see "Negro Schools," Overview, vol. 13, issue 1, 1992. Overview is published by the Wayne County Historical Society in Monticello, KY. In 1955, there were three colored schools in Wayne County, and Wayne County High School was listed as having both "white & colored" students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.230]. The following year, the Wayne County High School and the Rocky Branch School were listed as integrated, and the Monticello Independent Schools were noted as "white, colored, and integrated" [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.448].
- Colored School (1868)
- Colored Schools (8)
- Dogwood School
- Duncan School
- Meadow Creek School
- Mill Springs School [photo on p.20 in History of Public Education of Wayne County, 1842 to 1975 by I. Bell]
- Monticello School
- Shearer Valley School
- Valley School