Baldwin County Training School
1000 Main Street
In 1889, Reverend S.B. Bracy and the Eastern Shore Missionary Baptist Association purchased this ten-acre plot and built a two-room private school named the Eastern Shore Baptist Academy for Negroes. In 1915, land was deeded to the Baldwin County Board of Education for a public school named the Eastern Shore Industrial School that taught first through ninth grades. In 1927, the school was renamed the Baldwin County Training School. The Baldwin County Training School served as the only African American public high school in Baldwin County until 1950. From its beginning, the Baldwin County Training School was a powerful force in improving public education for blacks in Baldwin County.
The Baldwin County Training School had an enormous effect—educationally, economically, and socially—upon the people it served during a time of racial segregation and financial inequity. The school served all of Baldwin County for a time and was the only black high school in the entire county.
Mr. Walker J. Carroll was the school’s fifth and final principal serving from 1938 to 1970. During his administration the school thrived because of a spirit of cooperation among faculty, school, and the community. At one time, the campus had six buildings including a high school and elementary school building with offices. The McQueen Cottage was used for physical education and had an air-conditioned gymnasium with shower facilities. Home economics and vocational agriculture was also taught in a separate building.
In 1954, the landmark Supreme Court decision on the Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka case made racial segregation of children in public schools unconstitutional. Still, this decision did not affect the dual school system in Baldwin County until 1965. The Board of Education directed Board Attorney J.B. Blackburn and Superintendent Candler McGowan to develop a plan for gradual desegregation for the county. The three-year plan was adopted by the Department of Health Education and Welfare on August 25, 1965.
No distinction was made in the final budget for the school year 1963-64 of white and black students. Teachers were still listed on the county roster by color, but they were not labeled according to color. In 1966, for the first time, the salaries of black and white high school principals were the same: $11,100.00. Faculty desegregation began in the school year 1967-68. The last graduating class at Baldwin County Training School was 1970. In 1972, the school was renamed Daphne Middle School.
The peak enrollment of the Baldwin County Training School was around 1,200 students in all grades. Approximately 64% of the graduates attended college. Despite challenges of segregation, the graduates did well.
One of its buildings is now preserved as the African American School Museum in Daphne. It is located on the campus of WJ Carroll Intermediate School, which was renamed in Carroll’s honor in 2008.