Piney Woods School
Established in 1909, the Piney Woods School was originally founded in a poverty stricken section of Mississippi under a tree. The Piney Woods School is located in Piney Woods, Mississippi. It is currently the largest African-American boarding school and the second oldest continually operating predominately-black boarding school. Established in 1909, the Piney Woods School was originally founded in a poverty stricken section of Mississippi under a cedar tree. The very first Piney Woods students used a fallen log as a desk. They eventually moved to an abandoned sheep shed for class. As the years progressed, Piney Woods gained a charter, but with little funding, the teachers - both black and white - worked for free. Surviving for decades with supplies donated from local residents, Piney Woods gained accreditation in 1976. Music legends like the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi and the Cotton Blossom Singers are all products of Piney Woods. Piney Woods' original traditions are still carried out in class today. This includes a curriculum that combines strict discipline, Christian teaching and chores with daily lessons. Guest speakers attracted to the school's philosophy over the years include George Washington Carver, LeRoy T. Walker, Mike Espy and Wynton Marsalis. As part of its history, the Piney Woods School's founder appeared on the television show, "This is Your Life" in 1954. The host asked viewers to each send in $1 to support the school, eventually raising $700,000 for Piney Woods' endowment fund. The money gave new life and opportunity to the struggling institution. The current 300 students of Piney Woods are taught self-sufficiency. On campus is a post office, a farm, athletic fields, a chapel and an amphitheater. As proof of its success rate, more than 98 percent of Piney Woods' graduates go on to attend colleges, and many are historically black colleges and universities.
By: Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show