Monday, February 18, 2013

Okolona College (Mississippi)

Okolona Industrial School was founded in Okolona, MS in 1902 by Wallace A. Battle to provide normal and industrial education for African-American young people.  Wallace led the school until 1927 when he became Field Secretary for the American Church Institute for Negroes.  His wife, Effie T. Battle then led the school.  The name was changed to Okolona College in 1932.  Effie Battle departed and A.M. Strange was elected by trustees to lead the institution.  In 1965, the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi decided to withdraw support and the institution soon closed.
A fascinating study of the Okolona site was published in 1997 by The Small Town Center, a unit at the time of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University.  The case study of possible uses included an assessment of the existing buildings along with scale models for various alternatives.  The National Council of Negro Women had previously purchased the site and was hoping to develop facilities to serve multiple needs of the organization and the town of Okolona.  

Several more recent images of the Okolona College site have been posted on Panoramio.