This week the Georgia Historical Society highlights the newest Georgia Historical Marker, Hart County Training School (HCTS) in Hartwell, Georgia. In consideration of social distancing precautions, the marker’s sponsors, Hart County Historical Society, Harty County Historical Recognition Sponsor Group, Inc., and Hart County Training School, are participating in a virtual rollout of the historical marker to correspond with a privately held in-person marker dedication.
This week we will share blog posts examining the HCTS, the students and faculty of the school, and the Rosenwald School Building Program. In today’s Collection Highlight, written by Dr. Nathaniel Clark of the Hart County Training School Historical Recognition Sponsor Group, Inc. we look at the history of HCTS.
Hart County Board of Education officially established a school for African-American children on April 3, 1894. The first Black school was located at the Union Hill Colored Church in 1116th District. The following year, they moved the school from the church to a house. Some Black schools in Hart County that existed before the second consolidation included: Flat Rock, Sanders Grove, Shiloh, Sardis, New Light, Harmony Grove, Teasley’s Grove, Saint James, Brown’s Grove, Vanna, Mountain View, and New Hope. (Consolidated Black Schools)
Black students attended schools in sub-standard buildings in the field, churches, and homes. In the 1920s some Rosenwald-funded school buildings were erected to educate black children. The Hart County Training School building was erected in 1924 and was a Rosenwald school. It is located at 500 North Richardson Road, Hartwell, Georgia.
Governor Herman Talmadge and state legislators knew Georgia was not abiding by the terms of 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” doctrine. White students got new textbooks. Black students got used textbooks handed down from White schools. Talmadge enacted the Minimum Foundation Program to satisfy the Black community and maintain racially segregated school systems. Education systems were bad for both races, but it was much worse in Black schools. The Minimum Foundation Program was designed to improve education for both black and white students. (Georgia Equalization Schools)
The program was well received. Program provisions contained serving hot meals and equalization of school buildings. Notably, they still used creative ways to discriminate in the amount of funding provided to schools. They built Black schools and called them equalization schools. Hart County Training School was an equalization school built in 1955-1956.(Minimum Foundation Program)
As a result of good planning and execution by the Hart County Board of Education and other stakeholders, the transition process to full integration for Hart County Training School students in 1970 took place without incident. After federally mandated integration of Hart County schools in 1970, the Hart County Training School was used as the Hart County Junior High School. The existing building is now the home of Ninth District Opportunity Hart County Headstart Program.
Explore the links below to learn more about Hart County Training School: