In late 1870’s, the Tennessee General Assembly determined to help separate public colleges for black and white college students.
By the late 1880’s, the Colored Public School, which grew to become College Hill School, had moved from a non permanent location, the Colored Orphan Building, to a new constructing on Bridge Street. In the Eighteen Nineties, the colleges established by the Freedmen’s Bureau and buildings erected for church and faculty functions throughout and after reconstruction interval, had been nonetheless getting used.
However, the older buildings had been badly in want of restore and extra colleges and lecturers had been desperately wanted to coach the scholars in the agricultural communities.
As the leaders in the agricultural communities labored to restore and exchange the dilapidated colleges and construct new colleges to deal with the rise in the numbers of scholars, Colored Teachers’ Institutes had been organized in many counties in the Southern states, together with Maury County, to coach and certify lecturers.
The first session of the Maury County Colored Teachers’ Institute was held on the College Hill School in 1896. The main goal of those annual 10-day periods was to current strategies in the artwork of educating to these with much less expertise. Generally, greater than 100 main and secondary lecturers attended the institute and had been candidates for certification to show in Maury County Schools.
Special consideration was given to main lecturers in the areas of English Grammar, arithmetic, orthography, main physiology, Tennessee historical past, and U.S. History. Secondary lecturers targeting algebra, geometry, physics, civil authorities, geology of Tennessee, rhetoric, parts of agriculture and physiology.
The Conductor of the Institute was usually the principal of College Hill assisted by skilled educators and different subject material consultants.
Included had been the president of the State Normal School in Alabama; president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Nashville; J. W. Johnson, the professor of arithmetic, Roger Williams University; R. G. Johnson, Principal of the New Decatur, AL Public School; and Drs. C. F. Crews and A. T. Braxton, Physician and Pharmacist, respectively, of Columbia.
The County Superintendent of Schools performed the examinations. Those college students who handed the examination had been assigned to show in one of many colleges in the agricultural communities.
It must be famous that most of the lecturers who acquired certifications from the Maury County Colored Teachers’ Institute continued their education, acquiring a minimum of a Bachelor’s diploma.
Founder Mrs. Florence Armatage Thomas Turner established the Maury County Turner Normal and Industrial School in 1893, the place she served as president and principal. By February 13, 1896, the varsity reported a day by day common of 55 college students in the courses. The hottest courses had been carpentry for males, needlepoint, cooking and home work for girls.
In September 1896, the administrators of Maury County Turner Normal and Industrial School re-chartered the varsity beneath the title of the Tennessee State Normal and Industrial School. The board of administrators bought property on High road, close to White Spring. Teachers had been employed and the varsity began working because the Tennessee State Normal and Industrial School in September 1896. The constitution members had been as follows: M.C. Church, Chairman of Board of Directors; H. Morgan, P. F. Fleming, J. H. Kinzer, F. J. Webster, S. H. Howell, F. A. Turner, President and Principal, and James H. Turner, Secretary.
Mrs. Turner, the daughter of Henry and Ellen Hayes, was born in Tennessee in 1868. She attended Mrs. Julia Thomas’ Private School, Fisk, and Walden Universities in Nashville, and the Hospital College of Medicine in Chicago, specializing in Chiropody. She married Rev. James Henry Turner, an African Methodist Episcopal minister, who served on the varsity’s board of administrators.
Rev. James Henry Turner was born on a plantation in Virginia. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1864 in the 144th NY Regiment and two months later transferred by his request to the served with the forty third United States Colored Troops, Company D. He attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Schofield’s Commercial College in Providence, Rhode Island; Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey; Central Tennessee College in Nashville and National Medical School of Chattanooga.
He pastored a number of church buildings, together with the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia.
Jo Ann McClellan is Maury County historian and president of the African American Heritage Society of Maury County.