Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys
Lakin (or West Virginia) Industrial School for Colored Boys at Lakin was opened in 1922. Though it was a correctional facility; it served juveniles through education during this period and it was born in segregation. The school served West Virginia's African- American community and was staffed by African- Americans.
Backstory and Context
Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys was part of the West Virginia juvenile justice system. Opening in 1922, students were transferred in from the state’s other industrial school at Prunytown. From its outset, the school’s students and staff were African- Americans. The school remained opened until 1956; the property transferred to successive state agencies. American Electric Power eventually purchased the grounds and demolished most of the buildings in 2006.
Located in Lakin, WV just across from the West Virginia Hospital for the Colored Insane; both institutions were made possible through the efforts of T.G. Nutter, Harry Capehart, and T.J. Coleman.1 These three African- Americans were members of the West Virginia legislature and were instrumental in creating institutions that provided African- American staff to serve African- Americans. Students at the school received training in several different industrial fields. The facility included a mechanics garage and farm.
While most of the structures associated with the Industrial School have been demolished; however, many of buildings have been photographed by photojournalists and can be viewed on their web sites.