Allen-White School - Whiteville, TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 35° 19.911 W 089° 08.843
16S E 304826 N 3911960
Look at the Wikipedia picture for the building in 2010, and my photos of 2016.
Waymark Code: WM18GBC
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 07/30/2023
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Jake39
Views: 0

County of site: Hardemann County
Location of school: 100 Allen Extension St. , Whiteville

The Person:
James H. White
"Shortly before resigning, Principal George Thomas met a young man named James Herbert White on a train from West Tennessee to Nashville. Thomas told White about the Hardeman County Training School and the difficulty he and his predecessor Principal Campbell had experienced resulting from the School’s ongoing financial burden. White offered suggestions for ways to raise money that would help liquidate the School’s debt with public support from both Black and White residents. Principal Thomas remarked, “Do you realize that you are the very man who should go to Whiteville? You are the man for the job. I feel you could help the people there a great deal if you would accept it.” Principal Thomas took his proposal back to the HCTS Board of Trustees, who then offered White the principalship on the additional recommendation of new Negro State Agent Ollie H. Bernard who had succeeded Samuel L. Smith in 1920 following Smith’s promotion to the Rosenwald Fund.

"White was the grandson of two former enslaved persons and the child of two illiterate parents, born in Gallatin, Tennessee. He graduated from Tennessee A&I University in 1924. After completing his studies in agriculture and industrial training, the young academic became the Assistant Principal at Montgomery High School in Lexington, Tennessee. Determined to exceed the societal boundaries placed on southern Black men in the early twentieth century, White told his mother as a young boy, “…don’t you worry about me. You just keep on helping me all you can. Some day I’ll make you proud of me. I’ll be a college president before I’m forty years old.” Seeing no option but success, White replaced Thomas as HCTS’s new Principal in September 1928. He spent his first few summers in New York obtaining a master’s degree from Columbia University to bolster his teaching credibility in Whiteville. The Hardeman County community had finally fulfilled their longing for a leader like founder Jesse C. Allen, one that would be steadfast in his effort to grow the school into a successful regional plant." ~ USC Proquest  Page 89

Jesse C. Allen
"One such school that was not afforded the benefit of a schoolhouse facility was Jesse C. Allen’s School for Colored Children (School). Founded in 1905, it was likely the only elementary school for Black students to exist in the Town of Whiteville between 1867-1920.204 The School operated out of the Whiteville Masonic Lodge, which was associated with the Prince Hall branch of Freemasonry established for Black Americans in 1784.205 The “shanty school”— as it was later described by the Rosenwald Fund—was held for a five month term each year, and classes were taught by two teachers: Mr. Jesse C. Allen and Mr. Dupree. The son of former enslaved persons, Jesse Christopher Allen graduated from Roger Williams University in Nashville in 1884. After graduating, he taught in various rural Black schools across West Tennessee for twenty-five dollars per month until he married his wife, Ada Neely, and settled in Hardeman County. There, Allen became a teacher in a small elementary school outside of Whiteville, which was relocated within the Town’s boundaries in 1905 and became the Jesse C. Allen School for Colored Children under Allen’s principalship.

"In 1917, Jesse C. Allen and local Black doctor Gilbert Shelton travelled to the Tuskegee Institute to learn more about the Rosenwald-funded rural school building program. They hoped to secure funding to build a new school facility, one that had the potential to grow into a campus plant that served students through the high school years. ... As a result, in 1919, a Board of Trustees was established to control the grassroots fundraising campaign in Whiteville for what would soon become the Hardeman County Training School (HCTS). Board members included Jesse C. Allen, Founder; ... Operating under the continued principalship of Jesse C. Allen, the campus would serve elementary students formerly of the Jesse C. Allen School for Colored Children, and eventually high school students who would receive industrial training as well." ~ USC Proquest  Page 73-74

The Place:
"The Allen-White School at 100 Allen Extension St. in Whiteville, and the United Sons and Daughters of Charity Lodge Hall at 322 W. McNeal St. in Bolivar are among 12 Tennessee sites added to the National Park Service list of historic places Dec. 22.

"The Allen-White School was the first brick Rosenwald school to be built in Tennessee. The school was constructed between 1918-1920, and was one of thousands constructed with the help of funds from Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Co.

"A high school dropout, Rosenwald teamed up with Booker T. Washington to improve educational opportunities for blacks in the South. Together they developed the Rosenwald Fund, which provided matching grants for the construction of more than 5,300 schools in 15 states.

"In a time of great racial inequity, Julius Rosenwald worked with communities across the South and Southwest to improve educational opportunities for African-Americans," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust, in a statement. "We can't risk losing the tangible reminders of this great collaboration."

"In Whiteville, the local community rallied to raise money to build the best school possible. Under principal James Herbert White, the Allen-White School earned a reputation for quality academic and extracurricular activities, attracting students from throughout the region." ~ Memphis Business Journal, Dec. 29, 2005

"The school was started in 1905 as Hardeman County Training School, a school for African Americans that held classes in a Masonic lodge building. The school was led by Jessie C. Allen, who is one of the two men that Allen-White School was later named for. Circa 1918–1920, the school's own building was built on donated land with a $4000 bank loan obtained by the school's trustees, matched by a $4000 donation from the Julius Rosenwald Fund.

"The school's second namesake, J.H. White, became school principal in the 1928–1929 school year. In 1930 the school added a junior high school program and in 1932 it expanded to include the four grades of high school. The school's first high school class graduated in 1933. Allen-White was Hardeman County's only high school for African Americans and enrolled students from throughout the county; some students boarded in Whiteville in order to attend.

"After it closed as a school, the building was acquired by an organization associated with the El Canaan Missionary Baptist Church.

"The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. It was destroyed in an arson fire in May 2012. Alumni of the school hoped to rebuild it and contracted with an engineering company to investigate the feasibility of reconstruction." ~ Wikipedia

Year it was dedicated: 1920

Location of Coordinates: school

Related Web address (if available): [Web Link]

Type of place/structure you are waymarking: Building

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