Suzassippi’s Mississippi: Former Union County Training School

former Union county training schoolAlthough the Union County Training School for African Americans got its start in 1912, when the New Albany School Board purchased the site, the school operated from the former Baker home.  That building burned in 1943.  The old gymnasium, constructed in c. 1935, and the home economics building, constructed c. 1936 (Mississippi , served as the school, along with local churches.  A vocational building was also added c. 1941.  In 1947, army barracks built on-site provided space until the new school (pictured above) was constructed in 1948 on the same location. (“School Desegregation in Union County” retrieved from the Mississippi Civil Rights Project: History County-by-County.

The architect for the Streamline Moderne style building was Robert B. McKnight of Tupelo.  In 1960, the new vocational building, partially seen to the right of the 1948 building, was designed by E. L. Malvaney (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory).  The school was renamed B. F. Ford Elementary school after the principal from 1921-1950, Benjamin F. Ford.  It is currently used as a Head Start facility, and home to the Boys and Girls Club of New Albany. 1948 wingThe 1948 building retains its metal frame windows, has entrances with rounded corners on the front and what was possibly a secondary entrance, featuring a stacked header design.


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Categories: African American History, Historic Preservation, New Albany, Schools


3 replies

  1. I now have a burning desire to ride over there and yank those vines off.


  2. I’m so happy to see this!!!! B.F. Ford was my grandfather. My mother and I still live in New Albany. I would love to join this movement of preserving Mississippi history


    • Thank you, Ms Brewer! I have loved learning about Mississippi history since moving here 14 years ago. I am always happy to find a beautiful piece of architecture like this school, and especially when it has a community history with it.


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