Price Public School — Rogersville, Tennessee

Steering a bit away from the abandoned element I usually cover in this blog, tonight I will focus on a former African American school located in Rogersville, Tennessee that now has a spot on the National Regsiter of Historic Places.


For some reason,  I had completely failed to realize that this gem was sitting right under my nose!  Located in Rogersville proper the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Price Public School Alexander Failn, Jordan Netherland, Albert Jones and Nathaniel Mitchell, all Black Americans purchased this land in 1868 “for the purpost of building a schoolhouse for the education of colored children.” A two-room log building was constructed and used as a school until the early 1900s. Erected in 1923 the repsent structure served as a school for grades one through eight until 1958. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, the only known extant black school in Rogersville now serves as a community center and museum.


After Price closed in 1958  its students were transferred to Swift High School, which was converted from a high school to a grade K-12 school.  When integration took place in Rogersville, during the 1960s, the city’s African-American elementary school students were transferred to Rogersville City School, also a K-8 institution. The Price School building was subsequently used as a cannery, a community center, and a storage building,  then was abandoned and over time became run-down.



The building underwent a restoration beginning in the mid-1990s as a result of cooperative efforts between the town, the local African-American community, the local American Legion Auxiliary, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rogersville Heritage Association, and other civic organizations.   


The project was aided by a rural development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   Following restoration, in 2003 the Price Public Community Center opened in the building.


The Swift Museum in the center opened to the public in 2008.   The community center and museum offers resources for learning and teaching about African-American history and culture.


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