African-Americans, Appalachia, Appalachian Power Company, Aracoma High School, Battle of Blair Mountain, board of education, Buskirk & Kayser, Coal Branch, Coal River, E.F. Scaggs, education, Elaine Ferguson, Georgia Miller, history, Island Creek Bridge, J.F. May, J.W. Beckett, K.F. Deskins, L.E. Farnsworth, Logan, Logan Banner, Logan County, Logan High School, Lois Simmons, Omar Colored School, Opperman, R.H. May, W.H. Houston, West Virginia, White & Browning Building
In 1927, the Logan County Board of Education discussed construction of a new high school building for the county’s black pupils. At this time, Republicans held many county offices by narrow majorities.
Board of Education Favorable to Providing New Building for Colored Pupils.
NEEDS OF BLAIR POINTED OUT
Colored Teachers Hired For Omar
–Board Meets Again Friday–
That negotiations for the purchase of a site for a centralized colored high school for Logan district have been under way was disclosed at the regular monthly meeting of the Logan district board of education last Saturday. At an adjourned meeting to be held Friday of this week a further step toward this end may be taken.
The site under consideration is a two-acre tract fronting on the north shore of Island creek in Coal Branch. It lies between Coal Branch (stream) and the Island Creek bridge and roadway, and to which the only access at this time is through the alley along side and back of Buskirk & Kayser’s store. The upper half of it is now a weed patch; the other half is under cultivation.
This tract belongs to K.F. Deskins and has been priced to the board at $21,000. The ground is low and often overflows, but the board has been advised that the Appalachian Power Company will fill it with its own refuse up to the level of the road at no cost to the purchaser. Thus it would be made virtually flood proof.
Saturday’s meeting was attended by all three members, President J.F. May, Dr. L.E. Farnsworth and J.W. Beckett. Though convinced the price is high, Dr. May and Dr. Farnsworth said, everything considered, they believed the tract to be the most suitable for the purpose that could be found; and they further made it clear that in their opinion a new high school for the colored pupils is imperative and should be made available just as soon as possible. While admitting there are many things that should and must be done, they doubt whether any other contemplated improvement is more urgent than this.
The Aracoma high school building, a rickety, wholly unsuitable two-story frame, is characterized as a fire-box that must be abandoned. This property would be sold, if the other is bought, it is said, but the proceeds of the sale would doubtless be negligible compared to the price of the Dingess tract.
The Dingess tract is believed to be ideally located with reference to the colored population of the district. Besides, it is easily accessible from various directions and is ample in dimensions; and if necessary, one or more lots could be sold, though nothing of that sort is now contemplated.
Just how this proposed purchase and the proposed new wing for the Logan high school are to be financed was not explained at Saturday’s meeting. But there were many other matters demanding attention.
Conditions of school buildings and equipment at Blair and other Coal River points were discussed at length and definite action will be taken soon, it was promised. The two Richardson brothers, coal operators at Opperman, took a hand in these discussions and urged a program of improvements. Blasting done by road contractors nearly wrecked the Blair school building a good while ago.
The following teachers were hired for the Omar colored school: W.H. Houston, principal; Mrs. Georgia Miller, Mrs. Lois Simmons, Mrs. Elaine Ferguson, Mrs. W.H. Houston. The last three are new ones.
Prof. Houston was given a contract to paint some parts of the building for 10 cents a yard, the board to furnish the paint. He was told he could not make wages at that price but said he did not care about that, adding that he wanted the work done and would do it right or would not expect to receive even the low contract price for his work.
Many bills, many of them small and incurred by the old regime, were ordered paid. Among these was one for $40 for two months rent for an office in the White & Browning building for E.F. Scaggs. That contract was declared canceled.
R.H. May was appointed janitor of the Logan high school building, effective August 1.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 26 July 1927.