Harveysburg Free Black School

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Harveysburg Free Black School.jpg
Dr. Jesse Harvey erected the first academy building at the east end of the village and went to considerable expense to furnish it with competent teachers and equipment from the east. He initially paid for the school, which lasted through harsh economic times for eighth or nine years. He taught classes twice a week on history, languages and the natural sciences.

Courtesy of the Mary L. Cook Public Library.

Established in 1831 in Harveysburg, the Harveysburg Free Black School was the first free school for African-American children in Ohio.

Quakers Jesse and Elizabeth Harvey founded the school. Like most Quakers, the Harveys believed strongly in education. They also believed in equal opportunity for African Americans with whites. Elizabeth Harvey was especially concerned about the lack of free education for Ohio's African-American children and convinced her husband to construct a one-room schoolhouse to assist black children in attaining an education. While the institution is now known as the Harveysburg Free Black School, the school permitted any children of color to attend. Constructed of brick, the Harveysburg Free Black School remained in operation as a school until the early 1900s, when African-Americans were finally permitted to attend historically white schools in the community. The school relied on donations, principally from the Grove Monthly Meeting of Friends in Harveysburg, to remain open. In addition to opening the Harveysburg Free Black School, the couple also established a seminary for white children in the community

Upon the school's closing, the building became a private home. In 1976, the Harveysburg Bicentennial Committee acquired the building and restored it to its original appearance. The Harveysburg Free Black School now serves as the Harveysburg Community Historical Society's headquarters.