For Immediate Release
Friday, October 22, 2021
Contact: Mark Ard
Secretary Lee Announces the Designation of Monticello’s Old Howard Academy in the National Register of Historic Places
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced today that Old Howard Academy in Monticello, Jefferson County, has been listed in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.
“I am pleased to announce that the Old Howard Academy has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee. “The buildings of Old Howard Academy are the oldest surviving schools for African Americans in Monticello, where dedicated teachers educated generations of students.”
Old Howard Academy includes two wood frame, one-story buildings. The first building was constructed in 1936 as a four-room school and served African American students in grades one through twelve. A growing student population led to the construction of a second building in 1940, adding six more classrooms. The second building served as Old Howard Academy’s high school, while the original building housed elementary and middle school grades. The design of the two schools follows principles established by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which facilitated the construction of hundreds of ‘Rosenwald Schools’ for Black students across the South from 1917 to 1932.
Old Howard Academy Building 1, constructed in 1936.
Old Howard Academy Building 2, constructed in 1940.
Old Howard Academy is located on Mamie B. Scott Drive, in Monticello. The street name commemorates Mamie B. Scott, a leader in African American education in Jefferson County for over forty years. Ms. Scott served as a Jeanes Fund supervisor for Jefferson County, improving connections between the schools and the community. Also known as the Negro Rural School fund, the Jeanes Fund operated from 1908 to 1968. Jeanes Fund teachers not only taught classes but also served as de facto superintendents for Black schools, performing administrative tasks, conducting training, and advocating for students and faculty before school boards.
Old Howard Academy served the community for 24 years. In 1960, the school was closed following the construction of a new, modern yet still segregated school for African Americans in southeastern Monticello, later named Howard Academy. Monticello’s schools were later integrated in 1967. The vacant buildings have been stabilized using grant funds awarded by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, and are awaiting renovations as funds become available.
About The National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is a list maintained by the National Park Service which includes historical or archaeological properties including buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts, that are considered worthy of preservation because of their local, statewide and/or national significance. Nominations for properties in Florida are submitted to the National Park Service through the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. Florida has over 1,700 listings on the National Register, including 295 historic districts and 175 archaeological sites. There are more than 50,000 sites contributing to the National Register in Florida. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation/national-register. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places program administered by the National Park Service, visit nps.gov/nr.
About The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of Historic Preservation
The Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) conducts historic preservation programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, preserving, and interpreting the historic and cultural resources of the state. The Bureau manages the Florida Main Street Program, and under federal and state laws, oversees the National Register of Historic Places program for Florida, maintains an inventory of the state's historical resources in the Florida Master Site File, assists applicants in federal tax benefit and local government ad valorem tax relief programs for historic buildings, and reviews the impact that development projects may have on significant historic resources. For more information, visit flheritage.com/preservation.