Sunday, December 8, 2013

Abandoned Hinds County School, Utica, Mississippi

Just behind the Morning Star Baptist Church on Old Port Gibson Road is a one-floor, two-room cinder block school building.  It has been unused for at least a decade, and part of the roof is imploding.
This was a basic cinderblock building with steel push-out windows.
Windows facing the south let in plenty of sunshine.
My friend from Utica told me that many of these simple, two-room schools were built in the late-1960s - early 1970s for the Head Start program.  They were funded by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program in the late 1960s.  According to Wikipedia,
The most important educational component of the Great Society was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, designed by Commissioner of Education Francis Keppel. It was signed into law on April 11, 1965, less than three months after it was introduced. It ended a long-standing political taboo by providing significant federal aid to public education, initially allotting more than $1 billion to help schools purchase materials and start special education programs to schools with a high concentration of low-income children. During its first year of operation, the Act authorized a $1.1 billion program of grants to states, for allocations to school districts with large numbers of children of low income families, funds to use community facilities for education within the entire community, funds to improve educational research and to strengthen state departments of education, and grants for purchase of books and library materials. The Act also established Head Start, which had originally been started by the Office of Economic Opportunity as an eight-week summer program, as a permanent program.
The inside is a mess, with old furniture stacked up and piles of papers.
There are even two pianos waiting for restoration. Much of this furniture may be from the Morning Star church, using this as a convenient storage shed.
As a photographer, I love the patterns of shadow and light around furniture.
 
The roof is collapsing over the small side rooms that contained the toilets.

Schools tell us a lot about our society and about our optimism for the future.  I am glad some one built this modest little facility, but am sad it was abandoned.  Hopefully, the contemporary Head Start children have a better facility.  If any readers have more information about this and other schools, please let me know.

If you are interested in some other abandoned schools:

Utica High School
The Speed Street school in Vicksburg
Two-room schoolhouse in Carpenter
Yazoo County Ag. High School, Benton
The Bonner Campbell Institute, Edwards

Photographs taken with a tripod-mounted Fuji X-E1 digital camera and the 27 mm f/2.8 lens.  The little Fuji does a nice job with color balance inside. 

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