1926 – 1969
There were several schools dedicated to the education of African-American children in Nash County during the early part of the 1900’s. There were Evans, Snow Hill, Castalia, and several others that went as high as the 8th grade, but there were no High Schools for African-Americans in the county. In 1924 a committee of Blacks petitioned the Nash County School Board for a training school. The Board saw this as vocational training and stated the blacks could provide their own training. However, the Board did begin offering high school courses.
In 1926, the Nash County Board of Education established the Nash County Training School in Nashville at the intersection of Brake Street and East 6th Street in a six room white frame building and began offering high school courses. Nash County Training School was one of three African-American high schools established in Nash County. The other two were Spaulding and Swift Creek.
Mr. W. L. Greene was the principal of Nash County Training School an ultimately received his Masters Degree from Cornell University. In the early 1930’s Mr. Green supervised the building of the school’s white frame gymnasium. The gymnasium, better know as “The Barn” was used for basketball games, school socials, and storage for athletic uniforms from one season to the next. In the winter the gym was heated by two pot-bellied coal stoves. The gym was also used by Swift Creek High School as their Home-Court for basketball games.
The high school department was enlarged in 1937 with the construction of the brick building which contained the principal’s office, a library, a number of classrooms, and a lunchroom in the basement. Nash County Training School was one of the Rosenwald Schools constructed between 1909 and 1937 as a result of the efforts by Mr. Julius Rosenwald, Philanthropist and CEO of Sears and Roebuck. By this time, all high school teachers had college degrees and there was a full program of high school subjects being offered. The degreed teachers included Mr. Fitzgerald, Agriculture; Mrs. Josephine Clanton, Home Economics; Mrs. Ruth Roberts, English, Latin, and Music; Mr. O. M. Washington, Science; Mr. W. L. Greene, Mathematics until Mr. D. H. Keck came and taught Algebra; and J. E. Byers, English.
In the beginning the high school only went as far as the 11th grade. In the early 1940’s the 12th grade was added. The graduating class of 1958 was the last to graduate from Nash County Training School. By the fall of 1958 the name was changed to Nash Central High School. In January of 1966 the high school students were relocated to the new Nash Central High School located at 1638 South First Street, Nashville, NC. The class of 1966 was the first to graduate from the new Nash Central High School. The class of 1969 was the last class to graduate from the all black Nash Central High School due to integration.
Nash County Training School/Nash Central High School engaged in athletic activities such as baseball, basketball, and football. The school mascot was the Falcon and the school colors were Maroon and Gray.
*History compiled from information obtained from “My Time Of Teaching in Nash County” by Vera Hilliard Mann (2006) and from interviews of alumni.
Submitted by Morris Roberson 10/18/08