Bradley School, Black 1884-1955

BRADLEY SCHOOL BL?CK 1884-1955 was a reorganization of BRADLEY ACADEMY for the exclusive use of Negroes. The school was located on the east side of S. Academy Street in Murfreesboro.

The old BRADLEY ACADEMY building, which was used as a hospital during the war, was turned over to F. G. Carney, three teachers, and 150 pupils in 1884. The school building, as shown on the 1878 Beers Map, was L-shaped with the wing aligned with the front and extending to the south. The outline on the 1907 Sanborn Map showed a rectangular, two-story building having an L…shaped section of brick. The southeast corner had been filled in with frame construction. There were heating stoves but no lights.

The 1918 building, which is still standing, is a two-story, brick, rectangular structure with a flat roof. The contractor was L. H. Yearwood and the architects, Manley and Young of Knoxville. The Sanborn Map of 1924 showed the building as having a center hail which ran to an auditorium in the back. On each side at the front was a classroom. On the second floor were also two classrooms and a large room. The auditorium was later divided into two classrooms. The large room upstairs was later used as a chapel and was then divided to furnish another classroom.

Then because of increased enrollments, the Benevolent Lodge Hall with its three rooms was rented on the south side of East State Street to accommodate the high school department. In 1928, this BRADLEY high school department, grades seven through twelve, was transferred to the new HOLLOWAY HIGH SCHOOL on South Highland Ave. In 1946, two additional teachers were employed by BRADLEY for the sixth grades and the American Legion Hall was rented for classrooms. During the summer of 1947, a four-room annex was built on the HOLLOWAY campus to house the two sixth grades from BRADLEY and the seventh and eighth grades from HOLLOWAY.

Principals were: in 1884, F. G. Carney, who served two different terms for a total of more than thirty-three years; A. D. Wade, Sr., three years; M. L. Jones, four months; in 1917, Arthur Williams; in 1918-1927, P.S. Jones, a graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania; in 1927-1949, S. G. Greene, supervising principal; R. T. Butler, Jr., in 1933-1943; Weber Smith, who replaced Mr. Butler in 1936-1937 while he was on leave; Miss P. E. Smith, later Mrs. P. E. Smith Lillard, 1943-1954; J. H. Stevens, supervising principal, 1949-1955; and Emma G. Rogers Roberts, 1954-1955.

The faculty in 1884 consisted of F. G. Carney, principal, Emma Carney, Matthew Miller, and Mr. B. B. Woods. The faculty under Principal A. D. Wade were Edna Howland, Miss Johnnie O’Neal Scales, Elma Williams, and Ella Darden. Annie Mitchell King, born 1896, remembers Annie Ransom as her teacher. Some of the teachers of long tenure were Sadie Williams Jones, Robbie Hoover King, Buena Vista Patterson, Vertrees Woodson, Myrtle Lord, Arnanda Todd, Bertha Greene, Lillie Bell Whitaker, Mrs. E. A. Davis, Mary Greene, Samrnie Hoskin, Robbie King, and Ola J. Hutchings.

In the beginning the curriculum was narrow. It consisted of spelling, reading, writing, copy work, and arithmetic. The chief objective was to develop proficiency in the use of various tools of communication. Only elementary grades were taught. In 1889, there were 250 pupils in grammar grades with three teachers. An increased enrollment necessitated the addition of a junior high school. The first class was graduated in 1898 with a total of five students.

Principal P. S. Jones, 1918-1927, organized a three-year non-accredited high school with 17 pupils. In 1925, BRADLEY became a four-year high school with three full time teachers, six grammar school teachers, and a principal. When the junior and senior high school departments became HOLLOWAY HIGH SCHOOL, BRADLEY returned to grammar school status. In 1948, there were 373 pupils with eleven teachers. In 1952, BRADLEY had a well-equipped library, ten teachers had B. S. degrees, and one teacher had an M. S. Numerous educational workshops and instructional planning played an important part in the Negro school curriculum.

According to Myrtle Glantori Lord, who was interviewed by Laura E. Barnes, teaching at Bradley were “happy days because we could discipline the students . . . and the parents stood behind the teachers.” Mrs. Lord considered discipline the first and most important part of education for “a teacher cannot teach until the child is disciplined.” The importance of the parent/teacher student relationship could be seen in the large participation of parents in PTA at BRADLEY SCHOOL.

In 1955, the new BRADLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL was built on the north side of Mercury Boulevard. Today (ed. 1986) the old building is used by the Maintenance and Food Services Departments of the Murfreesboro City Schools.

SOURCES: Laura E. Barnes, “Bradley Academy and Black Elementary Education in Murfreesboro,” a paper for an MTSU class under Dr. David Rowe 1985. “Bradley Changes Reflect Many Improvements,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 11. Sanborn-Ferris Map Co., City of Murfreesboro, TN New York: 1907 and 1924. Interview, June 14, 1986, with H. Preston Scales. *R. T. Butler, d. April 5, 1986. *Lydia Glanton. *Collier Woods. *J H. Stevens. *Myrtle Glanton Lord. *Ljlljan Hamrnons.

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