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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Find a Marker > Division Street School Division Street School

Division Street SchoolDivision Street School

Location: 1803 Conservative Street, New Albany. (Floyd County, Indiana)

Installed: 2005 Indiana Historical Bureau and Friends of Division Street School, Inc.

ID# : 22.2005.1

Text

Side one:

Because of the growing number of African-American school-age children, the New Albany School Board authorized a new elementary school for them June 1884. It opened here 1885. An 1869 Indiana law had mandated education of colored children, with separate enumeration and separate schools supported with tax revenue within the common school system.

Side two:

Improvements and repairs were made over the years. The still-segregated school closed 1946. Friends of Division Street School was organized 1999 for restoration of the building. Restoration has been a joint project of the Friends and New Albany/Floyd County School Corporation. Building listed in National Register of Historic Places 2002.

Keywords

African American, Education, Buildings and Architecture

Annotated Text

Because of the growing number of African-American school-age children, the New Albany School Board authorized a new elementary school for them June 1884.(1) It opened here 1885.(2) An 1869 Indiana law had mandated education of colored children, with separate enumeration and separate schools supported with tax revenue within the common school system.(3)

Improvements and repairs were made over the years.(4) The still-segregated school closed 1946.(5) Friends of Division Street School was organized 1999 for restoration of the building.(6) Restoration has been a joint project of the Friends and New Albany/Floyd County School Corporation.(7) Building listed in National Register of Historic Places 2002.(8)

Notes:

1.In 1900, 9 percent of the population of New Albany was African Americans. Emma Lou Thornbrough, The Negro in Indiana Before 1900: A Study of a Minority (Indianapolis, 1957), 230. New Albany School Fund Records, Vol. III, June 19, 1884, p. 499, ibid., June 21, 1884, p. 500, microfilm, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library.

Following is a brief overview of colored schools in New Albany in addition to Division Street, according to information from National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, October 15, 2001, NRHP Continuation Sheet Section 8, pp. 4-5. New Albany's School Board passed a resolution in 1831 to not allow colored children to be admitted to public schools (New Albany School Fund Record, Vol. I, p. 107, August 11, 1831). In 1843, the Indiana General Assembly mandated that public schools were only for white children. In 1854, the African Methodist Episcopal annual conference reported a church-run day school in New Albany for colored children (Thornbrough, 170). On January 5, 1870, the New Albany Daily Ledger reported no schools for colored children existed. By the end of February 1870, the School Board announced it would open a school in the Colored Baptist church on Lower Second Street (New Albany Daily Ledger, February 24, 1870, p. 2). On March 1, 1870, the School Board voted to purchase land on the south side of Olden Street for $300 to build a colored school (New Albany School Fund Records, Vol. III, p. 124). The West Union School opened in the fall of 1870 and operated until 1879. Elementary schools were at Upper Fourth Street, 1874-1877, Lower Second Street, 1875-1907, Upper Eleventh Street, 1877-1883. In 1880, a colored secondary school, later called Scribner High School, opened downtown, remaining until 1951.

2. New Albany School Fund Records, Vol. III, January 1, 1885, p. 504; Ibid., June 16, 1885, p. 519 (as cited in National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, October 15, 2001, NRHP Continuation Sheet Section 8, p. 5); New Albany Ledger-Tribune, March 14, 1999.

3. Indiana Laws, 1869 (special session), 41.

4. New Albany School Fund Records, August 3, 1916, p. 151 and Special Session, December 13, 1922 [Vol. 7, p. 448]. In 1922, the board met to open bids from contractors to put a hip roof on the school; E. V. Knight & Lumber Co. was awarded the job.

5. New Albany School Board Minutes, May 14, 1946, Vol. 10, p. 109; New Albany Tribune, May 16, 1946.

6. New Albany Ledger Tribune, March 14, 1999; Louisville Courier-Journal, December 30, 2001. Amendment, Certificate of Incorporation, Friends of Division Street School, Inc., July 31, 2001. Indicates that the original incorporation date was June 11, 1999.

7.Carnegie Center for Art & History, Musings, Fall 1999, describes the partnership. Louisville Courier-Journal, July 9, 2001—restoration described, schedule of completion, Ron Stiller was architect for restoration. Ibid., December 30, 2001—work begins; one room will be circa 1900 classroom and the other a museum of African Americans in Floyd County; historic playground also planned. New Albany Tribune, September 21, 2003—"early this year work began in earnest;" interior work described. Jeffersonville Evening News & New Albany Tribune, March 3, 2004—future programs, room usage described; contact information for donations.

8. Historic Indiana, Indiana Properties Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, 2003-2004 (Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation), 20.