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Broward County Courthouse History: The Forties

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Florida Atlantic University
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Broward Legacy • 5 Braithwaite School. Broward County Historical Commission. Broward County Schools: Some Places of Instruction By Denyse Cunningham Denyse Cunningham was the curator at Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale and has been the curator for the Broward County Historical Commission since 2002. She earned a Master’s Degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine. For the past 29 years she has worked for several art and history museums around the country. AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCHOOLS In 1903 the first school for Af- rican American students in Bro- ward County opened in the town of Deerfield with the Rev. B. F. James as the teacher.1 It was named Deerfield Colored School.The sec- ond school in Deerfield, the Braith- waite School, was built in 1929 as a three-teacher school and cost $9,000. It was torn down to make way for a senior center.2 West Deerfield Elementary was opened sometime thereafter. African-American schools were operated on a split term, with no classes during the winter harvest season so that children could work in the fields. This meant that black schools could not be accredited and that their graduates would have difficulty entering accredited col- leges. The NAACP took the matter to court which ruled in their favor to keep the schools open in 1946.3 6 • Broward Legacy 1938 Map of Broward County Schools, from a report of Florida State Department of Public Instruction. Broward County Historical Commission. Though most of the earliest Afri- can-American public schools were housed in privately owned build- ings, teachers and administrators were provided by the Board of Public Instruction. With a donated building from Fort Lauderdale pioneer Tom Bryan, Colored School No. 11, a one- room wooden building on North- west Third Avenue and Second Street, opened in 1906.4 Four years later, classes moved to the Knights of Pythias Lodge Hall on the cor- ner of Northwest Fourth Str

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