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Cleveland County African American Heritage Trail
Item 3 of 11

Today Douglas Highschool serves as a part of the First Baptist Church of Lawndale. However, 120 years ago it was a premiere boarding school provided with the help from Emily Prudden of the American Missionary Association at a time when public education for African American children in North Carolina was virtually unheard of.


  • Property, Land lot, Real estate, Plain
  • Property, House, Photograph, Building

The Douglas Academy was built in 1902 through a collaboration between black farmer James Wells, and Emily Prudden who was one of the most prolific builders of African American schools in North Carolina prior to the Rosenwald Fund. The original school building functioned as a boarding school and was a three story structure. The Douglas Academy was originally an all girls school until a boys dormitory called the Clarkson Home for Boys was constructed by Jim Wells, a brother of James, just down the road from the main campus later moving to the same property. 

Over the years the original buildings would be torn down due to age which led to the construction of the building that would become Douglas Highschool which is still in existence today as a part of the Lawndale First Baptist Campus.

Pollitt, Phoebe Ann. "Emily Prudden and her Schools." The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1994)

Information Gathered by Chavis Gash

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Earl Scruggs Center

North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources