Archive | May, 2014

Closing Exercises for Ripley Colored Public School

12 May

One hundred and fourteen years ago a group of young African Americans participated in closing exercises for what was known at the time as the Ripley Colored Public School.

 

From the Lauderdale County Enterprise – May 25, 1900 Edition

Closing Exercises Ripley Colored Public School

The Ripley Public School will close the most prosperous session since its existence on Thursday and Friday night, May 31st and June 1st 1900. An elaborate program has been prepared and the teachers are sparing no pain to have everything an up to date affair thus showing their efficiency and the discretion of the board in electing them. The school is now upon on a graded system and working nicely. The program is as follows.

Part I

Overture                                                                                             Band

Chorus

Invocation                                                                                           Rev. A.G. Currin

Chorus

Is Patriotism a Sham?                                                                     Frederick Clay

The Gambler’s Wife                                                                        Maggie L. Russell

Duet – Father is Drinking Again                                                  Missus Tyus and Hightower

Recitation – Two Sisters                                                                Miss Jessie Hightower

We Are Coming                                                                                Anna B. Thornton

Solo – An Outcast                                                                            Mrs. Jennie Rice

Recitation – The Raven                                                                  Miss Fae Russell

Progress of the Negro                                                                     Fannie Dupree

Trio – There Are Friends That We Never Forget                     Misses Norvell, Pearl & Jessie Hightower,

Is It Wise To Begin Now?                                                              H L Dupree

Solo – I Am The Merriest Girl That’s Out                                 Miss Maggie L. Russell

Part II

Music                                                                                                    Band

Chorus

Progress of Invention                                                                     Willie Peebles

Recitation – Brought Back                                                            Lela L. Crook

Solo – Boys Keep Away From The Girls                                     Howard L. Dupree

Recitation – Home Instruction                                                    Maggie B. Tyus

Trio – Friendliness and Sad                                                          Missus Thornton, Russell, Crook

Benefits of Education                                                                     W.D. Graham

Solo – Friends of my Youthful Days                                           E. Buchanan

The Coming Woman                                                                       Fannie Norvell

Solo – The Young Man Across The Way                                     Missus Jessie Hightower

Address                                                                                               Professor W.H. Fort – Principle Bruce Street High School Dyersburg

Awarding State Certificates                                                            Captain E.T. Hanks – Superintendent of Public Education

Song Of The Steeples                                                                        Dr. S.R. Clay

Benediction

Friends and Patrons of the school are cordially invited to attend.

 

A few interesting facts about the school at this point.

The school did not become officially known as Lauderdale County Training School until 1919 according to the 1985 Lauderdale County High School Reunion Booklet.

The list of graduates that I have of Lauderdale County Training School does not start until 1908, so exact graduates of earlier classes are currently unknown.

The principal during this time period is thought to be Professor M. L. Morrison. It is believed that he was principal from the early 1900s – 1912. He then served as principal again from 1944 – 1945.

It also appears that the school was around prior to 1900 due to this being noted as “the most properous session since its existence” by the Lauderdale County Enterprise.

 

I decided to see what I could find out about the speakers on the program. It is a good chance that they were students at the school.

Frederick Clay – There are 2 possible “Fred Clays” on the 1900 US Census for Lauderdale County. One Fred Clay was born in 1889 to Harry and Frances Clay making him about 11. The other Fred Clay, also listed as Frederick in some places, was born in 1886 to Hugh and Ellen Clay making him about 14.

Maggie L. Russell – Born in 1885 making her about 15. Her parents are Isaac and Corinna Russell.

Anna B. Thornton – Born in 1886 making her about 14. Her mother is Mary J. Houston (Thornton Washington).

Fannie Dupree – Born in 1886 making her about 14. Her parents are Calvin and Mary Dupree.

H L Dupree – also known as Howell L. Born in 1883 making him about 17. His parents are Calvin and Mary Dupree.

Lela Crook – Born in 1885 making her about 15. Her parents are James and Janie Crook.

 

I found the titles of some of the poems or readings a little interesting for a school program. The Gambler’s Wife was written in 1844 by Elizabeth Caroline Grey. Another interesting title was Father is Drinking Again, but I could not find anything that looked like it might have been a poem or short story with that title. I also noticed that The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe written in 1845 was on the list of readings.

Cheers to the Ripley Colored Public School (Lauderdale County Training School) on a successful year end ceremony.

 

 

– Tiffany

-Sources: Lauderdale County Enterprise May 25, 1900 edition, Lauderdale County Highschool 1985 Reunion Booklet

 

 

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