Dallas County Training School

The Dallas County Training School was established with the 1918 and 1919 academic year, and served students from Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, and Dallas counties.When the high school was established in 1918, it was one of less than fifteen high schools for blacks in Arkansas, and one of less than ten public high schools for blacks.(It would remain the only high school for blacks in the four county area until 1940.)

The influx of students from these counties plus the growth of local interest provided the stimulus for the construction of the present building in 1931 to replace the former wood-frame building.The receiving of a grant from the Rosenwald Fund and the gift of the land for the building from the Shelton family, a local black family, encouraged the Dallas County School District to complete the construction.

The high school building cost $12,590 to build, with $300 dollars being donated by blacks, $9,690 coming from public funds, and $2,600 coming from the Rosenwald Fund.Of the five school buildings built in Dallas County with Rosenwald funds, the high school building was by far the largest and the most expensive. A shop building was also built on the campus at the same time, also using Rosenwald funds.That building had three classrooms, and cost $3,600 to build.Of that amount, $200 came from blacks, $2,700 came from public funding, and $700 came from the Rosenwald Fund.(The shop building was demolished in 1954 to make way for a new elementary school.)

When the new high school building opened in the section of Fordyce called Mt. Tabor, it was used by students in grades 6-12.The building had six classrooms, including one used as a library and classroom, and a small office.The plan of the high school does not appear to have used a standard plan offered by the Rosenwald Fund. However, buildings constructed using Rosenwald funds were not required to use the standard plans.The only requirement was that whatever plan was used had to be approved by the Fund. Teachers working at the school during the 1932 and 1933 school year included V. E. Bryant (Math and Science), I. G. Bussey (Literature and English), E. B. Wallace (Political Science), and B. S. Brantley (Home Economics).When the new elementary school was built on the campus in 1954, an addition was also constructed on the rear of the high school building.The new addition included a separate library and girls and faculty restrooms on the upper level along with two additional classrooms and a boys restroom on the lower level.

The Dallas County Training School High School building continued to serve the black population until 1970 when the Dallas County Schools were integrated.At that time, it was converted to use as a part of the Fordyce School District’s elementary school housing kindergarten through third grades.It later housed only fifth grade students and was finally phased out completely in 2001.Although the building is currently vacant, it is planned to rehabilitate the building and use it as a community help center, including after-school programs and other programs to better the lives of the area residents.

More information and a picture of The Dallas County Training School can be found here.

SOURCE: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Dallas County Training School. Retrieved May 28, 2005, from http://www.arkansaspreservation.org/historic-properties/_search_nomination_popup.asp?id=460

This site is maintained and updated by Jamila (Sloan) Barahona, contact me