Wilberforce School — Educating Daviess County Blacks

Daviess County undertook the task of educating their black students. They established the Wilberforce School for the blacks at Gallatin in 1866-67. A report in the "Public Schools in Missouri" stated there weren’t enough colored students to justify having more than one school.

Daviess County undertook the task of educating their black students. They established the Wilberforce School for the blacks at Gallatin in 1866-67. A report in the "Public Schools in Missouri" stated there weren’t enough colored students to justify having more than one school.

The first school session was taught for four months; two of these months were taught in a nearby rented room while their school house was being constructed. The report also stated the students appeared to be very enthusiastic about their work and made much progress.

In 1870, there were 96 colored children attending Daviess county schools. Fifty of these children had school privileges equal to the white children. Also, 50 of the 96 students lived in the Gallatin district and attended school there. The remaining 46 children were scattered over 13 townships, but less in any one township to warrant an organization.

In 1871, the colored people kept their school open three years by subscription. However, three years later there were 66 children attending their school.

By the time of the Great Depression in 1933, the school was still in operation. Three students graduated from their eighth grade class. At their commencement, there was a capacity crowd. One of the outstanding features of the night were the portrayal of birds and insects by the undergraduate classes. One could tell much time and energy had gone into the work

Researched by Wilbur Bush (2003)