The Union County Heritage Museum needs photos and other items for a school-focused museum exhibit.
Names like Plank Walk, Chestnut Ridge, Ratliff Line, Frog Level and several more are all part of Union County’s history. If these school names are not familiar, look back to the history of African American Schools in the late 1890s and early 20th century in Union County. These schools are a few of the precursors to Union County Training School that became B.F. Ford School.
The Union County Heritage Museum is in the process of both creating an oral history of B.F. Ford School as well as preparing for an exhibit that will open in February. A state historic marker relating to the school sponsored by the museum will also be placed in February.
“We are asking for people who have photographs and artifacts related to B.F. Ford School or Union County Training School, as it was known before 1950, to let us copy the photos and have use of the artifacts for the upcoming exhibit, said Jill Smith, Museum Director.
“We know how precious these things are to people and will keep them safe and return them when the exhibit ends in mid-March.
“Thankfully we have scanned photo negatives from about 1950s and have good photos of that time period and we have images of the Baker Street House which was where the school began when the country purchased the house in 1912. Isom Brown was the first principal. Educator B.F. Ford became principal there in 1921 and remained until he died in 1950. It was under his leadership that the school became a 12 grade school where students could complete high school.
The African American story in New Albany and Union County also includes a business district that is much different today than in the era prior to desegregation. “We would like to be able to piece this business district back together with a photo(s),” Smith said,” however we will need the help of local people who are willing to share their images to do this.”
“We would also like to scan any “Buckeye” B.F. Ford yearbooks, we would love to do this and be able to share this in an exhibit if anyone is willing to allow us to scan theirs,” she said.
Within the city of New Albany there were approximately 8 to 9 African American Communities with names such as The Flat, Goose Hollow, Goat City, Dumm and The Hill which is the location of B.F. Ford School. “A group of local African American Veterans created a map of the city showing where these areas were located. “We would love to be able to scan photos of these places from earlier years if people have them.”
Sports photos and information from B.F. Ford would be a welcome addition to the exhibit.
To share your photos and objects, bring them to the Union County Heritage Museum at 114 Cleveland Street, New Albany. You will receive a loan document if you leave your things for the exhibit . For more information call the museum at 662-538-0014 or email email@example.com.
Photos in this article are from the Collection of the Union County Historical Society.
Jill Smith, Director
Union County Heritage Museum
114 Cleveland Street
New Albany, MS 38652
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