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Randolph School

Black Schooling in Pass Christian
The Randolph School
(Note: Much of this is a consolidation by extraction from the Public School Minute Books as reported in another web page listed)

      [The 1887-88 Pass Christian Town minutes reflect significant activity in public works with the provision for drainage ditches, road bridge repairs, and hauling and spreading shells on principal roads. The other major priority was the monitoring of education matters which required monthly reporting from the two separate School Boards of Trustees, one Black, the other White. There was no mention of racial determination for the Trustees, but it is apparent that they were composed of separate racial makeup.]

     On September 15, 1887, a corporation was authorized (probably by the State of Mississippi)  to create a Pass Christian School District consisting of two separate school systems, one Black and one White with three trustees appointed for each school system.  The Trustees were responsible for hiring teachers and supervising the maintenance of the schools as well as student welfare.  School funding was divided equally during the years that the two separate Boards of Trustees existed.
     J. M. Harvey, A. Howard, and George D. Bonner were appointed Black School Trustees and as first order of business, hired John H. Dale as Principal at $60 per month.  Louis Henry, a teacher at $25 per month;  and William Howard, at $20 per month.  Howard was later replaced by Mrs. J. Richardson in October 1888.
     The next School Trustee appointees were Alex Howard, G.D. Bonner, and Louis Pratt, who reported 141 students with and average monthly attendance of 107.  Partitions were requested in order to divide the classroom into four units.
     In November 1890, the Black School Trustees included Lewis, Sinclair, and A. Howard.  John Dale was replaced as principal by William A. Howard.  (An apparent reason was that student enrollment had dropped to 66, with an average attendance of only 38 students per month.)
     On May 5, 1891, Allen Covington became the first Black student to be expelled from school.
     In September 1891, the Black School Trustees were Louis Pratt, J.A. Raffels, and M. Collins.  They hired J.W. Randolph as Principal, with L.C. Henry as Teacher.  In the following year, the Black School Board of Trustees were M. Collins, L. Pratt, and R. Morgan.

NOTE:  [It appears from reading the Municipal Minutes of 1909, that at some time after 1892, the two separate school systems of Black and White had been eliminated and that all School Board Trustees afterward were apparently Caucasian.

NOTE:  [An extract from Deed Book #78, page 460, dated November 24, 1906, shows that the Free Mission Baptist Church Trustees, Joseph Manual, Judge Marshall, and Louis Fulchin sold a lot measuring 50-feet wide by 110-feet deep to the Christian Aid Association for $150.  The boundaries were fronting on the L&N railroad right-of-way running north to Mary A. Hart’s property, east by Mrs. Margaret Fitzpatrick and west by an alley.  It appears that it was the lower left corner of the sketch shown herein, and without further deliberation may have been the first school house before the larger building was constructed as shown in the large square as copied from a 1920's map.]
     On May 4, 1909, the Christian Aid Society building was leased for $5 per month and used as a Black school.
     In 1918, a Black civic organization known as the Civic League circulated a petition to call for a new school building to be erected.  On April 3, 1919, school bonds were included in a Bond package proposed for city improvements which included repairs to the Negro public school building which appears to be renovations for the former Christian Aid Society building as shown in the map herein, as the small building.  

     A school library was established for the Black school with $120 of  funds derived from the School Board, parents, and a private grant.
     As described on the cover of a 1959 Randolph School Reunion booklet, a Black school was finally constructed in 1927.  
     J.W. Randolph died in 1928.  He was replaced by C.M. Greene who took charge of installing the highschool classes and upgrading the curriculum.
     In 1930, the Black community responded with donations to compliment a gift of $348.54 from the Randolph Estate.  With the raised money, a piano, chairs, curtains, and other items were purchased.  
     A school library was established for the Black school with $120 of  funds derived from the School Board, parents, and a private grant.
     As described on the cover of a 1959 Randolph School Reunion booklet, a Black school was finally constructed in 1927.  
     J.W. Randolph died in 1928.  He was replaced by C.M. Greene who took charge of installing the highschool classes and upgrading the curriculum.
     In 1930, the Black community responded with donations to compliment a gift of $348.54 from the Randolph Estate.  With the raised money, a piano, chairs, curtains, and other items were purchased.  

     Coach Darg Paige’s salary was increased to $75, and York A. Lenoir was named principal for the 1931-32 season.
     In 1935, Theresa Willis received $60 a month as a Teacher/Coach at the Black school.
     In 1936, James Hall Bolden was appointed principal for the Black school.
     In 1938, repairs had to be made due to dry-rotted floor joists.
     In 1939, the Black school, then known as the Harrison County Training School, had its name changed to Randolph Highschool in honor of the former long-time principal.  Lucius Hayden was appointed acting principal during a leave of absence by Bolden.  Bolden was followed by A.B. Chatters, in 1945;  by Albert D. Clark, in 1946; and by T.B. Brown, in 1948.
     Additions and repairs were made to the Randolph School in 1951, and in 1954, Black students were accepted from Long Beach after Mrs. Minor Sutter donated the Sutter home at 321 Clark Street with the adjoining land north of Randolph.  This growth resulted in school additions that were started in 1958.  In 1959, the old Nannie Sutter house was torn down and in 1960, the new buildings that were added to the school campus were dedicated and a plaque placed there.  Members of the Azalea Garden Club, with Mrs Matile Cappie, the first president, planted azaleas around the patio yard where they also placed cement benches.  For years afterward, the Azalea Club donated $100 towards a scholarship aid to deserving students.
     Murray Leon Creshon, Sr. became principal for the 1956-57 school term.  On April 14, 1958, Randolph School adopted Blue and Gold as their school colors.  The boys team was called the Tigers and the girls team, the Tigerettes.
     The Tarpon Beacon announced on April 23, 1959, that the Pass Christian Municipal School Board awarded contracts amounting to $160,000 for repairs, renovations, and additions to Randolph School.  This included a new gymnasium-auditorium facility, two additional classrooms, furniture, lighting, and an industrial arts “shop” building.
     In 1961, George Watson was appointed its principal.  With the 1969-1970 school term, following Hurricane Camille, school segregation came to an end, which resulted in Randolph Highschool being rededicated as the Pass Christian Middle School.  Hurricane Camille had exacted heavy damages upon every school building resulting in many classes having been conducted in portable trailer classrooms.
     George Watson became Assistant Superintendent and Bidwell Barnes became the first member of the revised Pass Christian Public School Board.

*  *  *
     After the Pass Christian Public School System vacated the Pass Christian Middle School in the year 2000, the Clark Avenue structures were rededicated as the Randolph Complex for J.W. Randolph, principal from 1891 to 1928.  He was the former namesake for the same Black school campus which had undergone a name change to the Middle School in 1969, with the racial integration process.
     New tenants to the Randolph Complex include the Senior Citizen Center, the Boys and Girls Club, and a branch office for the Harrison County Human Services.

“Professor” Randolph took on many responsibilities in seeking the prosperity of his school   This included gaining school funding from the Rosenwald Foundation.  Besides being an educator, he was an attorney, as well as a member of the Mississippi legislature representing this area of the Gulf Coast.

Other Notes:
     Adrien Swanier, a native of DeLisle, was principal of Pass Christian Middle School.

Student Notes:
     Alvin Clyde Coleman organized the first football program for Blacks at Randolph High.  He later became assistant coach at Tennessee State University.
     Besides being one of the organizers of football at Randolph High, Greg Antoine was on the first Basketball and track teams.  As an honor graduate of Jackson State he received his medical degree and began his practice in medicine.

*  *  *
Note from the Researcher: This chronology report contains only partial information with ongoing research on early Pass Christian institutions.  Dan Ellis


Some Deed Book References
  78-460 Christian Aid Assn on sw corner
174-124 city for PC Colored School
255-275

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