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Segregation Through the Lens :
African American Schools in Mississippi before Integration

John E. Phay Collection

This collection of images of black public schools taken during the 1940s and 1950s is part of various studies and surveys conducted by the Bureau of Educational Research at the University of Mississippi. Bureau Director John E. Phay conducted studies of both African American and white public schools in eleven counties in Mississippi. Photographed between 1949 and 1959, the collection contains over 3,800 images.

The Bureau shot a majority of the images in the collection after a special session of the Mississippi Legislature in 1953 abolished all school districts and required the former districts to present a plan for reconstitution or reorganization by July 1, 1957. As part of this reorganization, an approved agency such as the Bureau of Educational Research was required to conduct a survey. The Bureau assumed during these studies that the districts intended to maintain a segregated school system.

pope chapel elementary school, panola county
Pope Chapel Elementary School, Panola County, 1955.

View other photographs from the John E. Phay Collection.
Images arranged by county:
Clay | Grenada | Holmes | Panola | Sunflower | Yalobusha

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