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Trinity School (Athens, Ala.)


Historical Note

Trinity was founded in Athens, Alabama, after the Civil War by the Western Freedman’s Aid Commission, but later gained sponsorship by the American Missionary Association. Begun as a co-educational primary and normal school, Trinity dropped its first six grades when Athens opened a public elementary school for African Americans. Later the AMA transferred the normal school to the state.

Trinity’s first principal, Miss M. F. Wells from Ann Arbor, Michigan, opened the school for freedmen in Athens, Alabama in 1865. She served the school until her retirement in 1892. In 1879, a fire resulting in five thousand dollars in damage caused the AMA to plan to abandon the school, but the local African American community pledged two thousand dollars and all labor necessary to rebuild, inducing the AMA to remain. The school burned again in 1907 and 1913, but was rebuilt twice more due to funds and labor provided by local African Americans.

In 1909, Louise Hurlbut Allyn became principal. Around 1918, she asked the AMA to match the seven thousand dollars she raised in Athens for extensive expansion, which was carried out during the rest of her tenure. She retired in 1940 and was replaced by Jay T. Wright as principal. In 1943, the Limestone County Board of Education assumed financing of teachers’ salaries and bus service so that Trinity became a free high school. During that same year, the faculty at the school became all African American and Principal Wright was replaced by Rev. William J. King, who headed the school during the 1946 race riot in Athens.

The AMA negotiated the transfer of Trinity to the state of Alabama in 1950, agreeing to contribute a specified amount to its expansion. The association’s remaining property at Trinity was transferred to the state six years later, and Rev. King left the school as principal.


American Missionary Association archives 1969 addendum

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

American Missionary Association archives addenda

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 001-1
Scope and Contents The 1969 addendum and later addenda to the American Missionary Association archives are mostly twentieth century in scope, covering two main subject areas. The first is the association's numerous schools. These are considered "field" records, or, the fruits of the Association's missionary work outside of its New York City office. The Addendum is divided into three series: Series 1 covers field-related work, mainly the AMA schools; Series 2 covers projects that were run directly form the New...
Dates: Created: 1849-1991; Other: Date acquired: 03/31/1969

Jay and Mary Wright collection

Identifier: 629-1
Content Description

This collection consists primarily of photocopied material on Trinity School in Athens, Alabama. Included are copies of the school publication, titled variously Trinity Newspaper and Campus Chronicle, from 1940 and 1943. Also included are the memoirs of Jay Wright, who, with Mary, was an educator who taught at Trinity School.

Other materials include clippings, photographs, and correspondence of historian C. Eric Lincoln, who was an alumnus of Trinity School.

Dates: Other: 1940-2000

Additional filters:

African American educators 1
African American history 1
African Americans -- Education 1
Appalachian region 1
Coal miners -- United States -- 20th century 1