Monday, October 5, 2009

Van Buren School

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.


Ma Jean said...

Took many recesses at that school, and ate many lunches wrapped in newspaper. Lunch room was built around 1956 or 57. I graduated from Van Buren in 1950. School teachers were Rosie Pierce, Trillion Scott,Lloyd Patton, and Clarence Green in that order.

Five of us graduated in 1950,
Shirley Works, Harold Johnson, Forrest Nanny, Mary Jane McMillen, and myself Betty Jean Pennington.

The back of the school was high off the ground. Girls would build play houses and eat our lunch under the school. Boys played base ball, and if they were short a player they mkight let us girls play.

I played basketball. Our suits were homemade. Short bloomers made from red corduroy,and a white t-shirt with the No. cut out of the corduroy and sewed on the back.

Our water came from a big pump that had a big long galvinized pipe attached to it. This pipe had several holes cut in it and as the water was pumped, several people could drink at the same time.

Notice in the picture the ruts in front of the building. These were made as the buses came, let the children out, then turned. Thanks Mona, for the memories, there are many more, but not enough time or space.

Anonymous said...

What color were those students? Purple?

Anonymous said...

No, believe it or not , the same color as you.