. . .
- Perhaps one of the most important pieces of school legislation, which
enabled all Negro school districts to be formed, was passed by the General
Assembly of 1875. Act 45, Section 39 and 56. Section 39 stated:
- That the boundaries of school districts in counties of this state shall
be and remain as now
- established, except that the County Court shall have power to alter
the same whenever a majority
- of the citizens residing therein shall petition the court to do so;
but in all changes due regard shall be
- given to the convenience of the citizens, and all the territory in
the county shall be embraced in said
- school district (15).
- During various sessions of the legislature, laws were enacted which
implemented the general provisions of the Constitution. Section 56 of Act
46 made it possible for five qualified electors of a county to assemble
in a legal school meeting and establish a school district. This act of
the legislature enabled Negro electors to establish school districts for
themselves or it is possible that in some cases white electors established
school districts for Negroes. Detailed information as to how these Negro
school districts were erected are unavailable, but they sprang up all over
the county. These districts were erected in sections of the county where
the population of the community was predominantly Negro.
- The creation and development of Negro school districts showed a close
relationship to that part of the law governing the location of the schools,
- The duty of establishing separate schools for races is mandatory. If
there are eleven or
- more black children, they must have a school. Ten black children or
a less number, or ten white
- children or less, should be transferred to an adjoining district. .
. . . . but in all changes due regard
- shall be given to the citizens . . . . That schools should be located
where a majority of the citizens
- live (16).
- 15. S. J. Blocher, "Constitution of Arkansas 1874, Article XIV,"
Civil Government of Arkansas
- and the United States. Richmond: B. F. Johnson Publishing Company,
1907. pp. 193-194.
- 16. A. B. Hill, School Laws of Arkansas. Little Rock: Reprinted
by the Central Printing Company.
- Digest of School Laws; Crawford and Moses, Digest of the
Statutes of Arkansas, 1923. p. 72.
. . .
RISE OF NEGRO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS,
1900 - 1938
- In 1860, the Negro slave population of the county was listed as 3,599.
There were five free colored people in the County that year (2).
. . .
- Between 1890 and 1940, the following nineteen predominately all-Negro
communities were in existence, which included Early View, St. Mark, St
Matthew, St. Luke, St. James, Mt. Zion, Free Hope, Forest Grove, East Friendship,
West Friendship, Smithland, Noxube, Mt. Calm, Damascus, McMittress, Doss
Town, Atlanta, and St. Paul.
- 2. Banner News, Centennial Edition, Thursday, April 30, 1953.