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100 Years Ago

Black History
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Sidney Schools

According to the "Memoirs of the Miami Valley", a state law passed in 1853 provided for the establishment of schools for colored children, but no separate school was built for them until 1878 which was abandoned in 1895 as the "Black Laws" had been repealed. The colored school was located near the north-south alley east of the corner of 304 S. West Avenue.

Sutton’s "1883 History of Shelby County", in a brief description of the schools in Sidney details, "...Prior to 2d[sic] day of January, 1857, all the schools of Sidney were taught in private houses or churches in different parts of the town, except one that was taught in a log house erected on a school lot given by the proprietor of the town (Charles Starrett). They were supported, for the most part, by private subscription."  Sutton continues, "At the present time there are 800 scholars enrolled, with an average attendance of 675. There are sixteen schools in all. Twelve in the High School building, two in the South Main Street Primary, and one colored school. The Catholics also have a school."

"The Sidney Journal", on September 25, 1885, reported, "J. E. Moorland, teacher of the Negro school in Sidney, is sick, and has gone to his home at Coldwater, Mercer County, for a few weeks. There will be no school in the meantime."

On Friday, February 27, 1885, the same local newspaper records, "...children of school age in the Sidney school district: First Ward - white males, 149; white females, 154; black females, 4; total, 307. Second Ward - white males, 158; white females, 177; black females, 1; total, 336. Third Ward - white males, 151; white females, 139; black males, 9; black females, 2; total, 301. Fourth Ward - white males, 165; white females, 159; black males, 19; black females, 11; total, 354. East Sidney (on the earlier site of Dingmansburg, and a separate town from Sidney, located across the Miami River in the Brooklyn Avenue area) white males, 58; white females, 49; black females, 2.; Total 109. Total, 1407."

'Black History' segment written in June, 1998 by David Lodge


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