Lost Ripley – Lauderdale High School

22 Jun

Lauderdale High School was originally known as the Lauderdale County Training School. It was a school only for African Americans in Ripley and it dates back to the early 1900s and perhaps even earlier. The last graduating class of the school was in 1969, 15 years after Brown  vs. BOE declared separate but equal schools unconstitutional. As was the case with most schools for African Americans only it was closed and the students were sent to the previously all White Ripley High School.

Technically the building isn’t lost because it is still standing, but it is still a former shell of itself. Years ago I had read in the Lauderdale County Enterprise that there was a group trying to restore the school and turn it into an African American history museum.

I am not sure why the words “Ripley _____ High School” appear on the building. Maybe the school for African Americans was moved into the former Ripley Junior High School for Whites? Maybe the building was used as a junior high school after it ceased being Lauderdale High School?

If you would like to visit the site where African Americans in Lauderdale County were educated it is located on Spring Street.


Lauderdale High School

Lauderdale High School


– Tiffany

– Photo Source: My own

– Source: Lauderdale County Training School 1985 Reunion Booklet


13 Responses to “Lost Ripley – Lauderdale High School”

  1. Brenda Fitzpatrick Meadows July 18, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    My mother, Alma Lee (Fitzpatrick) Riley went to Lauderdale Training School. She just recently passed away and I was searching for her roots. She said, that she grew up with Alex Halley. Momma moved to Metropolis, Illinois over 60 years ago. She died at the age of 86 years old. Feb. 9, 2013.

    • Tiffany July 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. I’ll scroll through my list of graduates and see if I can find her. I have pictures of some of the graduating classes so I’ll look for her there too and post to the site.

  2. Aisha NolaDarling Raison August 26, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    It was a junior high school from 1970 until the mid 80’s/90’s. I graduated from there in 1986 (Jr High).

  3. Gaston Garrett II August 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    That building did indeed become Ripley Junior High. I went there for the 7th grade in 1986-1987. That was the last year it was open.

    • Tiffany August 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. Would you happen to know if this building that is still standing is the same one that was used prior to integration?

  4. Lizzie July 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Hello, I’m trying to find a music teacher or his family from Lauderdale High School, he’s listed in the year book as A.S. Bradley. I believe he may have taught around 1955 or so. Any leads would be greatly appreciated. He made a huge impact on my husbands family and we’re trying to pay tribute to him or his family if he’s deceased. Thx!

    • Tiffany July 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. If I find anything I will be sure to post it.

  5. Khenndoe Imani November 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    My mother was in the class of 1969 at lauderdale high. Here name was Vernell Yanders. Do you possibly have any photos from the year? Please let me know.
    Thank you,

  6. Ty March 11, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    I just discovered this page and yes, the building still stands. It was Lauderdale High School and then Ripley Junior High School where I attened in 1982. There were only seventh and eighth grades there and the newly built Ripley Elementary School had just been built one year previous, without inclusion of these. Just kindergarten to sixth grades. At any rate, the late Mr. Harold Windbush was principal there, and had a very diverse staff there. It was heartbreaking to see that most of these building pre- and post-segregation just lay waste. I would gove anything just to walk down those halls again. In fact when our church was being rebuilt, we had our services in the auditorium.

  7. Ronald Bonds July 5, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    It was known as Ripley junior high when I was there I graduated from that school I was there from 1982 to 1983 before entering Ripley high school

  8. Ronald Bonds July 5, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    It was known as Ripley junior high when I was there I graduated from that school I was there from 1982 to 1983 before entering Ripley high school I would love to see something done with the building because of the history that it has when it was the Yellowjackets

  9. Keith Presson February 12, 2018 at 5:55 am #

    This school was turned into Ripley Junior High School when the schools integrated. Also, the school on Nelson Street was turned into Ripley Middle School. I was in the 6th grade when the schools integrated and attended the middle school for one year and the junior high for two years. I had Mrs. Millie Jarrett as my home room teacher in the sixth grade, one of the finest and most caring teachers I ever had.

  10. Alex Riley February 22, 2018 at 9:03 pm #

    I think to answer your question, the reason Ripley ______ High School appears here is because when Old Lauderdale High was closed and intergration was initiated this building was the Ripley Junoor High School for both races. I hope this helps, I was one of the first yo attend middle school here.

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