Old Salem Elementary School

elementary building

The Old Salem Elementary School was completed in 1952, and was part of the Old Salem School Complex for African Americans in Benton County, north Mississippi, near the Tennessee border.  Old Salem High School and Vocational Building were constructed by the National Youth Administration in 1941, and neither building is extant.

Dr. John Elon Phay, Professor of Educational Administration, Director of the Bureau of Education Research at the University of Mississippi,  completed photographic research of Mississippi schools, beginning in the 1940s, including the Old Salem Complex.  Dr. Phay’s research examined the pre-integration conditions of selected elementary and high schools.  Exterior and interior photographs of the schools at the highlighted link illustrate the complex in 1956, including the building pictured above.

While researching the Old Salem and Hickory Flat schools, I found the Hill Country Project for Benton County.  There is so much we have not yet documented, so it is always exciting to locate a project like this, and the women and men who volunteer and make it happen.  Go visit, please, and make a donation to support the work.

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7 Responses to Old Salem Elementary School

  1. Beth says:

    I can’t get the second picture/slideshow to come up – may just be my laptop.

  2. socialbridge says:

    Oh I so wonder what learning and teaching was like here for all involved.

    • Suzassippi says:

      There were certainly many strengths among the students and the teachers then, in spite of the shortcomings of the public school system for black students in the south.

  3. Sheryl says:

    It’s good to hear that the history of the schools is being documented. They tell an important story that must not be forgotten.

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