Updated: Sep 9
The Blevins Training School served many African American students who were college-bound.
Two miles south of Blevins (Hempstead County, Arkansas) along the old Blevins to Washington Road, once sat the Blevins Training School, a high school reserved for African American children during the era of segregation. It opened in 1939 as a consolidated school to serve students from the smaller schools in the district, absorbing students from the Mt. Moriah, Oak Grove, McCaskill, Shiloh, Nolen, Antioch, Green Hill, and and Iron Spring schools. By consolidating, Blevins Training School was able to provide elementary and secondary education, theater programs, adult extension classes, and library services. Like all schools reserved for blacks in this period, intially the focus of the Blevins Training School was industrial training in agricultural and domestic science, but it soon offered a full array of academic courses when its board and leaders reflected the demographics. Graduates later attended graduate educational, theological, medical, and law schools.
The school was not around for every long - only thirty years. In 1964, racial integration gave students the option of attending formerly all-white or formerly all-black schools. Because the former all-white schools had more resources and their geographic locations were more convenient, and rural whites would not attend a formerly all-black school, Blevins Training School suffered dwindling enrollment. It closed in 1969. Today, there are few physical remains of the former school, but the former students of the Blevins Training School hold reunions every once in a while.