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Tracing the history of the Georgia Interscholastic Association
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Equalization Schools

Minimum Foundation Program money served a lot of purposes. Simply stated, it improved the standard of education for white and black students by providing money (with conditions) to build new schools to a certain standard - unless otherwise approved by the state.

Some of the state's requirements for money granted under the State School Building Authority are revealed in the October 11, 1956, Jackson Herald, when the new South Jackson Elementary was granted an exception. This happened as initially the county was approved to build a school for three grades. An appeal from the community increased it to seven grades, but state money had only been allocated for three and to keep it within budget:

The State Board of Education on October 8, 1956, adopted a resolution which read, "In view of unusual conditions in the attendance area of the South Jackson Elementary School, the State Board of Education hereby waives its policies requiring the construction of complete facilities at a permanent school center in order to permit the construction of seven classrooms with minimum essential toilet and heating facilities at the South Jackson Elementary School using the amount budgeted by the State School Building Authority for this project."

...

According to Frary Elrod, Jackson County School Superintendent, the architect is being notified to begin work on plans for a seven grade school building and to omit the administrative space, library and lunchroom.

Education had not been well provided for for either race. White students were in elementary schools in every rural locality. Most high schools could provide very little in variety or depth because of a small amount of teachers to go with small enrollments.

Of course, whites had it a billion times better than blacks.

Though the amount of schools varied from county to county, most black students attended school in ramshackle buildings in fields, in or beside churches, or if they were lucky, in the Rosenwald building erected in the 1920s. Equipment was worse, with the only relief coming from E.D. Rivers' 1937 gubernatorial campaign promise to make textbooks free for students. Not that black schools probably got new textbooks. Or weren't at the mercy of the white community to get the used ones they had.

It is the 1950s. Governor Herman Talmadge is no dummy. He sees that the fight for Civil Rights was on. He knows that at some point, Southern blacks are going to be more than silently dissatisfied at their lot. He also knows that education in the state is abysmal for black children and that we certainly weren't abiding by the terms of Plessy v. Ferguson - separate but equal. He believes that the black community will be satisfied with the gesture of the Minimum Foundation Program.

Talmadge wasn't the only one aware of this. Representative Phil Campbell, in an editorial to convince Oconee Countians to vote for school bonds, listed this as his number one reason:

To maintain segregated schools for the white people and the colored people. If we do not provide adequate and equal facilities for the colored people we will be contributing ammunition for the courts to do away with segregation in our common schools. The colored people of Oconee County do not want to attend the white schools. They would much prefer an adequate school of their own.
- The Oconee Enterprise, October 2, 1953

So, in this, one of many efforts to avoid integration, many black schools were built. They are usually dubbed equalization schools.

This is a list of known equalization schools. It is not complete and I could guess to about 90% accuracy on others, but at the moment, they are being left off the list as they could throw me a curve like Harris County has (local bond issue to consolidate/modernize black schools occurred before the Minimum Foundation Program).

Besides, there is the fun of the chase. What did these schools replace? Just how bad was the county in terms of separate and unequal? Is there any name longer than Danville Consolidated High School for Negroes*?

The list of replaced schools is also not complete. Georgia newspapers varied widely as to how much coverage black schools received and it's relatively rare to find any year with a complete list of schools, even when the paper does provide you a number; the listing for Burke County, for example, is piecemeal out of numerous weekly editions.

The list is from the last year before the equalization school(s) opened. Anything not proven to exist in that particular year is not included. This condition is made as the lists were ever-changing. Several counties - even after being approved for state money - were slowly eliminating schools.

It looks like the first place to have their system equalized was Clinch County, who finished up in early 1954. A small handful of counties had everything ready for the 1954-55 school year, but most were finished in 1955 or later.

* Which doesn't appear in the list, as I lack proof to say it existed when Wilkinson County built new schools.

County School(s) Year Replaced
Number
Replaced Names
Atkinson Atkinson County Training
Willacoochee
     
Berrien Nashville High & Elementary 1954 3 Alapaha Colored
Nashville High & Elementary
Ray City
Burke Cousins Elementary
Girard Elementary
Gough Elementary
Midville Elementary
Palmer Elementary
Waynesboro High & Industrial
1955 42 Cobb Grove
R.L. Cousins Junior High
Fielding Grove
Gough
Greens Grove
L.D. Hill
Inman Grove
Keysville
Midville Junior High
Mount Zion
Rock Creek
Rosier Grove Elementary
St. Clair
Summerstand Elementary
Third Church
Waynesboro High & Industrial
Williams Grove
Chattooga Chattooga County Training (addition only)
Summerville Negro
Westside (Trion city)
1957
Trion city unknown
4 Chattooga County Training
Menlo Negro (closed in 1958)
Summerville Negro
Westside (Trion city)
Cherokee Cherokee County Training 1956 2 Canton Junior High
Cherokee County Training
Clay Bluffton Elementary
A. Speight High
1955 10 Bluffton Elementary
Chattahoochee
Crossroads
Green Chapel
Macedonia
Mount Calvary
Mount Zion
New Hope
A. Speight High
Springfield
Clinch Homerville High & Elementary early 1954    
Columbia John P. Blanchard High
Gibbs Elementary
Phinizy Elementary
George T. White Elementary
April 29, 1957 21 Appling High
Central
Ellis
Galilee
Gibbs High
Gospel Water Branch
Jerusalem
Macedonia
Oakey Grove
Pollard
Poplar Spring
Rehoboth
Rosemont
Smith Grove
Solid Rock
Steiner Grove
Walnut Grove
Water Branch
Winfield
Dodge Copeland Elementary
Peabody Elementary (addition only)
Peabody High
1957 6 Chauncey
Chester (remained open for a few years)
Copeland
Lisbon
Mount Olive
Peabody
Early "Over $634,000 has been spent on new school buildings and improvements and additions to old ones, [Fletcher Thompson] said."
(11/25/1954 Early County News)
1954?
Work had not started in early 1953; appears to have been finished by time of the quote
   
Franklin Carnesville Trade
Schools also built in Lavonia and Royston, but possibly through local funding
1957 (Carnesville) 3 Lavonia Colored High
Royston
Union Grove High
Gwinnett
(does not include Buford city)
Hooper-Renwick (big addition)
Hull Elementary
1957 5 Hooper-Renwick
Hull Elementary
New Bethel
Norcross
Shiloh
Habersham Clarkesville Colored
Cornelia Colored
1955
Cornelia only, Clarkesville possibly 1954;
Cornelia's construction had been delayed, while Clarkesville was a 1-room school
2 Clarkesville Colored
Cornelia Colored
Haralson Haralson County High & Elementary 1956    
Hart Hart County Training 1957   Hart County Training
Irwin Holt Elementary
Mystic Elementary
Ocilla High & Industrial
1955 6 Holt Elementary
Lax Elementary
Melvin Elementary
Mystic Elementary
Ocilla High & Industrial
Osierfield Elementary
Jackson
(includes Commerce city and Jefferson city)
Bryan (addition only; Jefferson city)
J.L. Williams Elementary (Commerce city)
1957   Bryan (Jefferson city)
Center
Hoschton Chapel
Johntown (Commerce city)
Jones Chapel
Summit Chapel
Jasper Jasper County Training
Carrie Taylor (addition, lunchroom)
1956   Adgateville
Jasper County Training
Carrie Taylor
Jeff Davis Hazlehurst High & Elementary 1956    
Jenkins Aaron (addition)
Burgess Landrum
Herndon-Birdsville
March 15 & March 30, 1956   Aaron High
Birdsville-Herndon
Jenkins County Training
Johnson Dock Kemp January 1955    
Lanier Lakeland High & Elementary 1956 2 Lakeland Colored High
Stockton Colored
Lincoln Lincoln County Training 1955 6  
Madison Northside Southside between Sept. 1955 and
Feb. 1956 (?)
Southside completed in this period; Northside either briefly retained the name of Tabor's Chapel or wasn't finished until summer 1956
4 Carlton
Comer
Tabor's Chapel
Waggoner's Grove
Miller Bethel probably 1954
expected to be completed then
  Bethel
Mitchell Baconton
Camilla Consolidated
Cotton
Sale City
Sept.-Dec. 1954; early 1955
delays in construction and equipment
  Baconton
Bethel
Cotton
Friendship
Habecca
Oak Grove
Pine Crest
Rockdale High
Sale City
Montgomery Montgomery County Training 1956    
Morgan Bostwick Elementary
Pearl High
Springfield Elementary
1957   Bostwick
Buckhead
Pearl Street High
Springfield
Oconee Ed Stroud 1956   Rosenwald
Oglethorpe Oglethorpe County Training July 1955
start of black school term
20 or 21  
Pickens Pickens County Training 1957 1 Pickens County Training
Pike East Pike Elementary
Pike County Consolidated
between Nov. 1955 and Feb. 1956   Concord Industrial
Zebulon Training
Putnam Butler-Baker 1955 12 Bells Chapel
Bethel
Browns Chapel
East Putnam
Eatonton Colored
Flat Rock
Free Gift
Freeman Grove
Hunts Chapel
Jefferson
Mount Calvary
St. Luke
Rockdale Bryant Street (addition only) 1956 1 Bryant Street
which technically didn't replace
anything
Stewart Lumpkin High & Industrial
Omaha Elementary
Richland High & Industrial
     
Taliaferro Murden 1955   Murden
Taylor Eureka
Reynolds
1956 5 Butler
Reynolds High & Industrial
Twiggs Antioch Elementary
Jeffersonville Vocational
Mount Olive Elementary
1956   Jeffersonville Vocational
Walton Carver Elementary/High
Good Hope-Peters
Social Circle Training
1958 9 Bethany
Carver Elementary/High
Carter's Hill
Etchinson
Good Hope-Peters
Loganville
Mount Enon
Social Circle Training
Spring Hill
Warren Norwood Elementary
Warrenton High & Elementary
1956 18  
Wilcox George A. Hill Elementary
Neapolis Street Elementary
Wilcox County Consolidated
1956 8  
Wilkinson Bertha Alvin Elementary
Calhoun Consolidated
Hall-Monroe Elementary
1957   Irwinton Junior High
Toomsboro Rosenwald
Worth Hillcrest Elementary
J.W. Holley
New Hope Elementary
Parker Elementary
Osie Whearry Elementary
Spring & Fall 1957 33 Blue Springs
Bridgeboro
Buckaloo
Charity Grove
Evergreen
Fort Early
Friendship
Harrisonville
Isabella
Jackson Grove
Mercer's Mill
Miller Chapel
Mitchell Grove
Morning Star
Morris Hill
Mount Olive
New Bethel
New Hope
Oak Grove
Oak Hill
Oakfield
Parkerville
Pleasant Hill
Porter's Corner
Poulan
Powelltown
St. James
Shady Grove
Shingler
Spring Hill
Sumner
Unionville
Zion Grove