African American Communities in Warren County, KY
Sunnyside, Freeport, and Oakland were three African American communities in Warren County, KY, developed after the Civil War.
In 2001, the city of Oakland was awarded a grant from the African American Heritage Commission to complete the study of the community Sunnyside. The resulting report, Writ Upon the Landscape: an architectural survey of the Sunnyside Community, reveals that the African American section of Sunnyside grew to the point that it merged with the white section.
Sunnyside presently has 53 buildings and the Loving Union CME Church and its cemetery. The community also had a one-room schoolhouse for grades 1-8 that was torn down in 1948.
Sunnyside is located five miles southwest of Freeport, an African American community that had a two-room schoolhouse, Woodland School. One room served grades 1-3 and the other grades 4-8; the school was closed after integration, and the building was used as a restaurant and for social entertainment. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church, established in 1870, is still in use.
The communities of Freeport and Oakland were separated by a railroad track, Freeport on the north side of the tracks. Mrs. Virgie M. Edwards, a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, was a teacher at the School in 1916. The names of other Oakland teachers are listed in the KNEA Journal from 1916-1935.
For more see Transpark: a collapse of dreams, by the City of Oakland, Kentucky; and the following articles from the News section of the Daily News - J. Dooley, "Oakland gets grant to fund study - work will cover history, heritage of Sunnyside," 7/26/2001; A. Carmichael, "Historic Oakland mill being dismantled - lumber will be used by famed Nashville-based builder," 8/30/2003; A. Harvey, "Black History: woman remembers Freeport's heyday," 2/22/2004; A. Carmichael, "A lifetime of teaching - Warren County woman has passion for education," 8/01/2005; and J. Niesse, "Freeport endangered by transpark project," Letter section, 4/25/2001.