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Trenholm High School was an education system for the African American children. The public school for African American children opened in 1887. The school stood for many years helping join the strength in the African American community. The school focused on being the community’s center of culture, recreation, leadership, and education. Due to the desegregation plan the students were moved to Deshler High School and Trenholm High school was shut down.


  • Photo taken by  David J Gaines, February 4, 2015
  • Photo taken by  David J Gaines, February 4, 2015
  • Photo taken by  David J Gaines, February 4, 2015

Trenholm High School had a big impact on the African American community of Tuscumbia, Alabama. This school was where many African Americans felt free and didn’t have to worry about the color of their skin. The school started out very small, but then became bigger. The school became a place where the community would gather. It then became much more than a school for the community. Successful African Americans started out at this school. When the school was torn down and history was diminished the town still to this day fights to let information be known about the school.

            Trenholm High School began in 1870 and was one of the last African American High schools located in Tuscumbia, Alabama before desegregation. The school started out by the name of Tuscumbia Colored School. The school took place in a church at the foot of the hill that all African American children attended. The school was taught by Judge Wingo and his daughter.  The name was eventually changed to Trenholm High School in 1921.  Trenholm High School no longer is a standing building. The building was torn down in 1969. There are now historical markers of memorials long the walkway leading to the historical marker. The memorials include images of student activities, accomplishments of the students after graduation.  

The book Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children that the school wasn’t just a school. The school was a place that many events took place for the African American community. At the school, African Americans would gather and watch movies and would sit on the main floor. When African American citizens of this down was a part of a movie in Downton they had where required to sit on the balcony. Many accomplished African Americans came out of Trenholm High School. George Washington Carver, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Paul Robeson was a few of the accomplished African Americans.

The school was torn down and segregation began in the small town of Tuscumbia, Alabama. The former all white school across town had been segregated with Trenholm High school. Any history as such as the band and athletic trophies of the school had been destroyed, vandalized, or given away. Any history that was physical was destroyed.

            Trenholm High School was a place that the town of Tuscumbia, Alabama will never let anyone forget. It had a huge impact on the African American people. This was not just a school, but a place where the African American community would come together and hold community events. A place where they had not been treated different just because the color of their skin. Even though the high school is no longer standing the community will continue to let people know the history of Trenholm High school. 

Pam Kingsbury, University of North Alabama, “Trenholm High School ,” Omeka at Auburn, accessed February 12, 2018, https://omeka.lib.auburn.edu/items/show/1544.

Gaines, David J. Trenholm High School. THE HISTORICAL MARKER DATABASE. 02/20/2015. Accessed 02/12/2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=80944. 


Morris, Vivan Gunn. Morris, Curtis L. Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children. Alabama. Bergin and Garvey, 2000.