Emery School (Black), 1882-1958

EMERY SCHOOL BLACK 1882-1958 was on the west side of Emery Road which is to the west of Lascassas Road, between Osborne and Compton Roads. The school was in the Emery community and next to the Emery Methodist Church which still holds services as of 1986.

On November 11, 1882, Trustees of Emery Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, William Rucker and Robert Black, deeded to School Directors M. Pitts, J. C. Sanders, and Joseph Bowling one-half acre of land. On May 1, 1923, Charlie Nelson and wife Carrie deeded to the County Board of Education one acre.

The original one-room school building was replaced by another one-room school. The second was frame with front and back doors and pained glass windows at the back.

Another room with no outside door but with two windows was later added to the front north side of the building to make it L-shaped. After 1956 an old house with one window and a tin roof was moved behind the original room and was connected to it by a breezeway. It served as a kitchen.
This second school became a Rosenwald school.

Teachers known to have taught in the first one-room school were Ben Woods, Al Black, and Nannie Watkins. Some of those who taught in the second school were Lillian Jordan, Professor Willie Lyons, Lillie Belle Sanders Whitaker, and Mrs. J. R. Patterson. Nannie George Flowers Rucker and Susie Avent were the first to teach in the two-teacher school. Others were Mrs. Roberts from Georgia, Helena Alexander, Annie Rucker Zachary, and Cora North.

Students were from the families of the community.

Outside of the regular curricula, the pupils enrolled in the Blue Ribbon Program through which they received inoculation shots, learned to bathe and brush their teeth regularly, and even wrote to Dr. Salk who answered their letter. They made favors for the hospital through the Red Cross and participated in a hot lunch program. Georgia Anna Rucker, who had no children in the school and who received no salary for her work, walked five
miles each day to cook potatoes on a pot-bellied stove. Parents furnished the butter.

Upon the recommendation of County School Superintendent Bealer Smotherman to the Southern Association, Nannie Rucker was chosen to appear before a committee in Washington on April 21, 1947. On April 22, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported:

“Top educators and teachers from one-room county schoolhouses . . . appeared before a Subcommittee of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee to endorse a bill by four Republican and four Democratic
Senators to furnish up to $250,000 in Federal grants annually for three years to help the states improve educational facilities. One of the sponsors is Committee Chairman Robert A. Taft.”

The three teacher experts who testified a need of such a grant were Mrs. Flora Harriman of Hampden, Maine, Authelia Gumm of Summerville, Kentucky, and Nannie Rucker of Rutherford County, Tennessee.

In addition to press notices carried in newspapers nation-wide by both the United Press and the Associated Press, Nannie Rucker received letters of congratulation from R. B. Marston, Director of Legislative-Federal Relations
Division, NEA; T. D. Martin, Director of Membership, NEA; A. D. Holt, Secretary-Treasurer of TEA; R. E. Clay, State Developer of Negro Education, Tenn. Department of Education; W. S. Davis, President of A and I College, Nashville; and W. E. Turner, Division of Negro Education of the State
Department of Education.

Nannie Rucker also received personal letters from Mrs. Flora Harriman and Mrs. Anne J. Brown of Dylestown, Pennsylvania, who sent one dollar in contribution via The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in which paper she suggested a drive to solicit dollars for Nannie Rucker.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ely, who owned a clothing store and later furnished new clothing for the students, organized a “Nannie Rucker Day’ in Doylestown. In 1983 Nannie Rucker received a large plaque with her picture on it from the World Who’s Who of Women, International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England, for “Distinguished Achievement.”

On January 27, 1958 EMERY SCHOOL along with GLADEVIEW BLACK and SHILOH BLACK were consolidated in the new SHILOH SCHOOL BLACK.

On August 28, 1958, the Rutherford County School Commission sold to Johnny Matthews and Della S. Brown two tracts of land containing one acre and 42/100 acre, the EMERY SCHOOL property. Johnny Matthews converted the school into a house which later burned.

SOURCES: Deed Book 26, p. 414; Book 123, P. 491; Book 124, p. 5. “One Teacher,” The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, exact date unknown. A clipping. “County Teacher Presents Case to U.S. Salons,” The Daily News Journal, date unknown. Clipping. “Tennessee Teacher Tells Congress Her
Pay after Taxes is $886; Thinks of Becoming a Maid,” The Knoxville News Sentinel, April 22, 1947. “‘One Room’ Teachers Testify on Senate School Aid Bill,” The Washington Post, date unknown. Clipping. *R. T. Butler, d. April 5, *Nannie George Flowers Smith Rucker.

Comments are closed.