The McKinney Center and the Town of Jonesborough are pleased to announce a 10 Year Celebration and Commemoration. Last year, 2023, marked the 10th Anniversary of the McKinney Center in its current form. To celebrate this important anniversary, the McKinney Center will celebrate the history of the building by commemorating the Booker T. Washington School faculty and staff with a bench dedication. The ceremony will occur on February 12, 2024, at 1pm at the McKinney Center and the public is invited to attend. This event will hold a dedication in the auditorium with a time for alumni to share. It will conclude with light refreshments including cookies from Side Hustle Bakery and coffee donated from The Corner Cup.
The McKinney Center was originally the Booker T. Washington School. It was completed in 1939 and was the first Works Progress Administration (WPA) built building in Washington County. The school opened its doors for African American school-age children from grades 1 – 8 in 1940 and served in this capacity until integration in 1965. This building was the primary education facility for hundreds of African American students in the community. The faculty and principles served here left an educational legacy that continues today. Beginning in 2010 the town purchased the building and restored it into a place that would bring people together through the arts. Renovations began and lasted for several years. In November 2013, the building officially opened as the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School.
Over the past year, the McKinney Center’s Diversity & Equity Sub-Committee has worked on researching the names of faculty and staff of the Booker T. Washington School to create a plaque to partner with a bench to place on the McKinney Center property. The research was done through oral history accounts from alumni of the school and records from the Washington County School Department. Special thanks to the Jonesborough Genealogical Society in helping with the research of families.
The McKinney Center extends a special invitation to the families of those who worked at Booker T. Washington school between the years of 1940 and 1965; Hattie Birdwell, Ethel Brown, Mr. L.H. Buford, John Cox, Hugh Dean, Bessie Dickson, Savannah Dickson, Gladys Hale, Richard Hampton, Ms. Hankal, Lester Howard, George Johnson, Connie Kizer, Katherine Matthews, Ernest L. McKinney, Willie McNeil, Mildred Patton, Starlin Perry, Henry Greenlee, M.E. Richardson, Dorothy Rhea, James Rollins, Mr. Henry Scott, Mrs. Gertrude Shanks, Ella Sherrill, John Stewart, Robert Stewart, Virginia Sylvers, Ada “Sis” Woodson, and Oscar Wilson.
If you are a family member and wish to share stories and memories of Booker T. Washington School, please call 423-753-5062 or email Skye McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org.