Parker Academy: learning from the past

July 12, 2018

The Parker Academy, one of the first schools in America to desegregate, has been excavated for artifacts to find a better understanding of the school, how it came to be and how the community thought of it. The school was originally built in 1839 in New Richmond, Ohio.

“These students of this academy were high school students, so their level of growth and development was near the same of what you went through,” said Dr. Brian Hackett, an associate public history professor.

Hackett is one of the main leaders of the excavation of The Parker Academy, which started about three years ago. He mentioned that the kids that went to this school were high schoolers, very similar to the modern kids in today’s world.

“Their life was a little bit different in that, in this school everyone was welcome, but the rest of the outside world didn’t see it this way,” Hackett said.

Hackett said the students faced many problems that society today is dealing with.

Even though the school was ahead of its time, involving equality, the rest of the world did not approve. There were bullets and musket balls found by the school that Hackett claims were from people taking shots at the school.

The school prospered until the 1890s, when the African-American community moved to the local cities, from a recession happening since the 1870s.

The school shut down, due to the lack of students. Even though it opened back up in the 1950s, it succumbed to the racial tension and underwent segregation.

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