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Bahama School

Bahama SchoolPhoto courtesy of Fisk University Franklin Library, Special Collections

This two-teacher school was built to open in the 1925-26 school year. It was constructed on two acres of land and cost $4,050. Of this total, $400 came from the black community, $2,950 from public funds (provided by the Durham County school board), and $700 came from the Rosenwald Fund. The Bahama School was located in the urban part of Durham County (Mangum Township) and was completed during the tenure of Jeanes supervisor Carrie Jordan.

The black community began pursuing the building of this school by 1920. School board meeting minutes from that year record their pledge to contribute part of the cost of the school in cash, labor, and/or materials. A school for black children existed in the Bahama area by 1902, but like most schools provided for these children in that era, it was likely a hand-me-down or "recycled" school that had been decommissioned as a school for white children.

For the 1929-30 school year, an addition was built, making the school large enough for three teachers. The addition cost $1,650, with $20 coming from the black community, $1,480 from public funds, and $150 from the Rosenwald Fund.

To provide a clearer understanding of the actual cost of this school, $4,090 in 1925 dollars is equal to about $50,615 in 2010 dollars. When the American federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938, the rate was set at 25 cents an hour, so the $400 provided by the black community for the initial building of the school represents 1,600 hours of work done to earn it.

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