Monday, October 5, 2009
Not great images, I know, but these are photographs of photographs of the Van Buren school in Itawamba County. I found the images at the Itawamba Historical Society's library in Mantachie several months ago. The Van Buren school was closed around 1959, the victim of consolidation. School consolidation was nothing new in Itawamba County. In 1919, there were 77 county schools. Ongoing consolidation whittled down that number to 43 in 1929 and 28 in 1939. When Van Buren school was closed in 1959, there were only 8 remaining county schools plus the Itawamba Agricultural High School which was then under the direction of Itawamba Junior College. We are operating pretty much under the same set of consolidated schools now, in 2009, as we were in 1959 with the exception of the school at Houston in northwestern Itawamba County which was subsequently consolidated with Mantachie. Plus, the colored attendance center in Fulton was integrated during the 1960s.
Information about school consolidation was taken from Miss Zereda Greene's newspaper column that appeared in the Itawamba County Times on February 10, 1966. Copies of her columns can be found in the library of the Historical Society. Miss Zereda noted in her column that with school consolidation came the need for school buses to get the children to schools that were further away. These early school buses were usually of wood and made locally, she said, and originally the bus routes were bidded out. It wasn't until 1952 that the county took over the bus routes after purchasing all-steel buses and hiring the drivers. There is a picture of an early school bus here in a previous post about Bettie Griffin Thornton.
Posted by Mona Robinson Mills at 6:05 AM