On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Eduction that segregation of America’s public schools was unconstitutional. The results of this landmark case was that all school must be racial integrated. While this was a step forward in racial equality, the integration of schools was nothing new in Ohio and in Hardin County.
African-American families who were direct descendants of slaves living in Hardin County wanted to insure their children received an education. These families had settled on the land which is located near the Old Sandusky Trail, a known route of the Underground Railroad. These families tried to send their children to the school located at Wolf Creek. In an article written in 1985, Laura Pribe, a former student of the school remembered how families got their children ready for school everyday for a year, only to have them denied entrance. The African-American families took matters into their own hands and they built their school on what is now Ohio 31, on land that was owned by one of the African-American families. The first school was built in 1883 and was a log house. Wanting to ensure that a school would last for many generations, three years later, in 1886, a brick building was constructed on the same site and it still stands today. At the time no state law segregated school but since 1858, school boards were to construct a separate school for African American if more that thirty black children lived in the community. While African-American students were not permitted at the Wolf Creek school, that was not the case for the newly built school. White children were welcomed and the school became known as The Black and White Schoolhouse. The school was in operation until 1928.
The Black and White Schoolhouse still stands to this day, a testament to the important of perseverance and the desire for education. It is also a testament to the spirit of working together for a better world. The Black and White Schoolhouse welcomed everyone, no matter what their color, making education possible for all.
Hardin County Historical Museums, Inc
223 N Main Street Kenton, OH 43326