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Mon, 07.19.1909

Piney Woods Country Life School opens

*This date in 1909 celebrates the founding of Piney Woods Country Life School.  Also referred as The Piney Woods School, they are a co-educational independent historically Black boarding school for grades 9-12. 

Located in Piney Woods, unincorporated Rankin County, Mississippi; 21 miles south of Jackson.  It is one of four remaining historically Black boarding schools in the United States. It is currently the largest Black boarding school, and the second oldest continually operating Black boarding school in America. 

The Piney Woods School was founded by Laurence C. Jones.  He added the Mississippi School of the Blind for Negroes in the early 1920s, and in 1929, with the arrival of Martha Louise Morrow Foxx serving as principal.  The Mississippi Blind School for Negroes eventually moved to an urban location in Jackson, Mississippi.  

Piney Woods is also where the International Sweethearts of Rhythm were formed, by Jones.  The school was presided over for more than 60 years by Jones, until 1974 when Dr. James S. Wade became the second president. Charles Beady led the school for more than 20 years, and today the school is presided over by Dr. Reginald T.W. Nichols.  A variety of speakers have spoken at the school, including George Washington CarverLeRoy T. Walker and Mike Espy. Wynton Marsalis played a benefit performance for the school in 1994, as well. Morley Safer reported on the school in 1992 and again in 2005 for the CBS television show, 60 Minutes

Reference:

Piney Woods.org

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