A Brief history of the Elysian Fields Colored School and Booker T. Washington
From the 1870s until 1954 there
were many “Colored Schools” in the Elysian Fields area. These schools
were located in Mt. Pleasant, Oak Grove, Central Springs, Pine Hill,
Strickland Springs, Shady Point, Sunny Point and Oak Hill. The first
official Elysian Fields Colored School was erected near the Elysian
Fields Baptist Church in 1926 and served the community for many years.
On March 5, 1954 the Elysian
Fields School Board made up of Annie B. Hamilton, Henry Sanders, Mabel
Benton, Ray Marshall, Estelle Osborne, Zenobia Watson, Emma Lattimore,
and D. H. Fluellen renamed the Elysian Fields School Colored School to
Booker T. Washington School. A new building was opened for Booker T.
Washington in August of 1956 and it was located on FM 451 where the
Elysian Fields Elementary School now stands.
The School Board decided that
Booker T. Washington would operate on a “split session, beginning July
of 1954, teaching for six (6) weeks and then dismissing for the
harvesting of crops.” Additionally, In August of 1956, the law required
all children who are six (6) years of age by September 1, must start
March 11, 1958, the Elysian Fields School Board and the DeBerry School
District met to discuss consolidating the two districts. The students
attending DeBerry School were comprised of residents of DeBerry and
Bethany, Louisiana. In 1959, the Boards adopted a resolution to
consolidate The DeBerry Colored School with the Elysian Fields School
District. The consolidation of the two school districts was to take
place in the fall of 1961. In 1960, after approving the consolidation
of the two school districts the Board approved adding another building
to the Booker T. Washington campus due to the increased population at
Booker T. Washington. The sole Principal to oversee the Booker T.
Washington School from 1954 to 1970 was Mr. D. H. Fluellen. The 1970 –
1971 School year was the start of something new….the first full year for
the newly integrated Elysian Fields Independent School District.
From The E.F. Colored School to The Elysian Fields, ISD
1870: A record
search revealed “Colored Schools” were prolific throughout the
surrounding Elysian Fields communities and one such school was the
Elysian Fields Colored School. The Elysian Fields Colored School was
erected near the current site of the Elysian Fields Baptist Church.
Ironic enough and as history would have it, I had the pleasure of
meeting Mrs. Buelah Jernigan, a former Colored Elysian Fields School
student and witnessed Elysian Fields Colored School affixed on her high
school diploma. No, Mrs. Jernigan is not a century year old but the
mere fact that someone so significant and vital in Elysian Fields
history still exists is a wonderful testament.
1871 to 1878: The first noted teacher of Elysian Fields Colored School was Mr. Durant.
1890 – 1893: Jordan Williams was added to the faculty.
1893 – 1910: V.
Cox, Isam Spears, Jim Brown, C.A. Dudley, W.J. Brown and Mr. Oakley
were all noted principals of the Elysian Fields Colored School.
1926: The Elysian Fields Colored School was relocated to the site where Elysian Fields Elementary School presently sits today.
Elysian Fields County Line Rural School Board designated the Elysian
Fields Colored School as a two-year high school. During that year an
extra room was built and an additional teacher was hired (Mr. Richard
Anderson) and he his salary was $40.00 per month.
1939: The Board restricted bus drivers from allowing Negroes from riding the school bus during the school term.
1940: The Board authorized the purchase of a removal partition between two adjoining rooms at the Negro School.
hiring of Mrs. Annie Bell Hamilton and Estelle Osborne to teach at Oak
Hill Colored School. And Clyte (Spears) Anderson and Vivian Smith were
hired at Elysian Fields Colored School. Finally, the Board voted to
equalize the negro teacher’s salaries where they each earned $45.00 per
1941: Mr. J.D. Sanford was hired as principal.
1941: Mr. Dewit Suber was hired as the janitor for the Elysian Fields White School earning $30.00 per month.
1941: The Board hired Mr. Mathis to cut out a pattern for Negro School seats and for the Negroes to make them.
1943: Mr. G. Thomas was hired as principal.
1945: The Board
hired Mrs. Annie B. Hamilton as Principal and teacher at the Mt.
Pleasant Colored School along with Mrs. Emma Lattimore as a teacher.
1947: Mr. J.G. Chatman was hired as Principal of the Elysian Fields Colored School and Claude Daniels was hired as a teacher.
D.H. Fluellen was hired as Principal of Elysian Fields Colored School
and Mr. Ray Marshall was hired as teacher of Health, Physical Education
and Bus Driver. Also hired ware Estelle Osborne to teach Primary, Helen
Johnson to teach second and third grade, Emma Lattimore fourth and
fifth grades, Ophelia Hatten English fifth through eighth grade, Creacy
B. Leary, English and Spanish, Lemma Wallace, Home Economics, and Mr.
Jesse D. Spears to teach History.
1948: The Board voted to move the Mt. Pleasant Colored School and hire Mrs. Hamilton at the Elysian Fields Colored School.
Board appointed Mr. Ray Marshall to serve as Principal of the Elementary
and moved Mrs. Hamilton to teach classes at the High School.
Henry Sanders was hired to teach science at the high school. He also
started the first football team and assumed the coaching
responsibilities of the existing boys’ basketball team. Mr. Claude
Daniels coached the High School girls’ basketball team and Mr. Ray
Marshall coached elementary.
1951: Mr. Roy Marshall was hired to teach Agriculture.
1951: The first bell system was installed at the Colored School at a cost of $56.36.
Board changed the bus route along Highway 79 from Lather’s yard to the
Tank Farm Road, affecting children going to Carthage, De Berry and
Elysian Fields Schools. The students desiring to attend Elysian Fields
were picked up by De Berry’s bus drivers and dropped off at the De Berry
School. They were then picked up and dropped back off by the Elysian
Fields School buses.
March 5, 1954 the Board approved the recommendation made by the colored
teachers (Mrs. Annie B. Hamilton, Henry F. Sanders, Mabel Benton, Ray
Marshall, Estelle Osborne, Zenobia Walton, Emma Lattimore and D.H.
Fluellen to rename the Elysian Fields Colored School, Booker T.
1954: The Elysian Fields County Rural Line School was converted into the Elysian Fields Independent School District.
1954: Vernon D. Sanders and Zephyr May were hired at Booker T. Washington.
The Board determined that the negro school (Booker T. Washington)
would operate on a “split” session, beginning that July, teach for six
weeks and then dismissing for the harvesting of crops.
The Board did not re-employ Claude Daniels, Mabel Benton and Estelle
Osborne because of the low attendance at Booker T. Washington.
1956: Attendance rose to 325 and the Board hired Earl English and Louise Wilson.
of that year a new building was erected and the faculty sent a letter
to the Board expressing their appreciation for the new building.
Mr. Fluellen asked the Board for bleachers to go into the gyms but was
refused and instructed to use the portable bleachers on the football
field in the gym.
1956: In August a law was changed that required children that turn six (6) by September 1, must start attending school.
1957: Mr. Noble Bowman, Mr. A.D. Anderson and Norma Lee Johnson were hired as bus drivers.
March 11, the Elysian Fields School Board and De Berry School Board
met to discuss the consolidation of the two districts. That district
was to be Elysian Fields School District.
The Board decided to permit students who transferred to Carthage to
continue until graduation and the Bethany children from the Louisiana
side would be able to attend the consolidated school.
1958: The De Berry community fought against the consolidation.
1958: Mr. Stephen Alexander was moved up to be Principal of De Berry School where Mrs. Victoria Davis was once the Principal.
1959: The Board adopted the resolution to consolidate De Berry and Elysian Fields School Districts.
1959: The Board approved the first senior trip.
1960: The consolidation occurred in 1961.
De Berry Colored School teachers hired by Elysian Fields District
included, Ollie B. Hodge-Lester, Verdie Hall, Pauline McWilliams-Moore,
L. Lester and Stephen Alexander.
1960: The Board approved an addition onto the Booker T. Washington School due to the consolidation with De Berry School.
1965: On January 3, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law, requiring integration of all public schools.
1965: The First African American students enrolled and attended Elysian Fields White School.
1970: Booker T. Washington and Elysian Fields Schools became fully integrated in September 1970.
1970: The Board turned the Booker T. Washington School into the Elysian Fields Elementary School.
Two Principals (D.H. Fluellen and Stephen Alexander) along with
thirteen (13) teachers were hired by Elysian Fields Schools (Mrs. Mary
Fluellen, Mr. Ray Marshall, Mrs. Vernon D. Sanders, Mr. Henry Sanders,
Mr. Jesse D. Spears, Mr. N. Hamilton, Mrs. L. Lester, Mrs. O. Lester,
Ms. Maxine McAfee, Mrs. Z. May, Mr. O. Moore, Mrs. R. Williams and Mrs.
served as the Junior High (Middle School) Principal and the designated
principal to address the disciplinary issues of all Black students at
the High School.
*Mr. Sanders later retired as the High School Principal of the Elysian Fields High School.
Graduating Class- Julian M. Stephens, Frankie Russell and Vivian
Williams became the first African American students to earn academic
scholarships at Elysian Fields High School.