Farmington School

Every so often I drive past a derelict school building in Marshall County.   Although I’ve often had a camera in the car with me when I’ve driven by, I’ve never taken the time.  Today I had a sense that if I did not make the time, one day soon I would find site razed.

This morning I met and spoke with a woman who told me the school at Farmington had been a black school, that is, a school established for the segregated education of black children.  She said she had taken photographs of this and, I believe, other schools’ exteriors to illustrate an article she had written about another black school.  She said she did not know who currently owns the property.

Here’s a link to an article that mentions Farmington School’s history, and here’s a link to a page with details of the school’s physical location.

2 thoughts on “Farmington School

  1. I suppose the building may be too far gone for someone to remodel as a home, etc. In the photos it doesn’t look so bad except for the one roof corner.

    • I was wondering about that. Roof’s obviously in need of repair – I’d guess total replacement. If you look at the photos of the foundation stones, they appear pretty loose, at least around the crawl-space hatch. A lot of work there for somebody to perfect window glazing technique. Care was taken in building that school, or the old frame structure, big as a sail to the local winds, would not have remained standing this long. I would like to see it restored and not demolished. It’s near a busy crossroads, and restored could help not only preserve, but teach local history to a current clueless generation. Walking around the old building, and looking in through the workshop window, I imagined dedicated, serious teachers preparing their charges for a productive life on earth. Classroom and workshop – both, I’d guess, for teaching.

      Totally different from what happens in many schools today. I remember a woman named Mary Alice, I’ll leave her last name off the Internet, who told me about her experience as a child educated in an Oklahoma segregated school. “The black teachers cared about us and worked hard to educate us,” she said and went on to contrast that with the sorry state of integrated compulsory education available to her grandchildren in Oregon.

      If you find that paragraph on the Tennessee cultural and social encyclopedia page, it mentions that around the time of the school’s construction there were four verified lynchings in Marshall County. I’ve been thinking about lynchings and trying to understand what motivates something like that. A man whose insight I value and whose intelligence I respect told me that Southern white peoples’ attitude toward black people was in the past characterized by an unwillingness to permit them to express adult emotions in public or in their dealings with white people. Sure, he said, white people knew that black people married and had children, but expected them otherwise to live and act like well-behaved children.

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