Segregation Through the Lens :
Piney Woods Country Life School
Dr. Laurence C. Jones founded the Piney Woods Country Life School in 1909 to give rural African Americans a vocational education. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1907, Jones became the Director of Academics at Utica Institute. He began to travel widely throughout Mississippi. During his travels he decided to establish a school and chose the impoverished area of "Piney Woods" in Rankin County, twenty-one miles outside Jackson.
The Piney Woods Country Life School began with only three students. By the 1940s there were 350 pupils enrolled from a number of different states including Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The school had a primary school, a grammar school, a high school, a junior college and a department for the blind. Jones believed students should acquire no fewer than three skills. The first skill should be mastered and the other two learned well enough so that one of them could be used if the first one failed. Students at the school were trained in industrial, agricultural, and household work. Today, the school is one of five historically black boarding schools left in the United States.