Brick Junior College
Enfield, North Carolina
The Franklinton Center at Bricks: Cultural Landscape Conservation Guiding Future Development, a University of Georgia dissertation by Laura Schuetz is on line. The 1928 Bureau of Education Bulletin has an extended profile of school programs. Era of Progress and Promise has an illustrated profile of the school.
Joseph Keasley Brick Agricultural, Industrial and Normal School was founded in 1895 by the American Missionary Association. Land and money for buildings came from Julia Brick, a wealthy Brooklyn widow, who named the school for her husband. Principal Thomas S. Inborden opened the school on October 1, 1895 for 54 students—all in the first four grades.
Schuetz noted that the original name of the school suggests that agricultural and industrial training was to precede a normal or liberal arts education. She states “The curriculum required all students to take an industrial class.” Inborden himself believed that girls should be proficient in “the use of the needle” and boys “with the handling of tools.” Students were expected to assist with the maintenance of the campus, while also receiving a standard arts and science education.
The junior college opened in 1925 with 24 students, who had been admitted by certificate from approved high schools or by examination from non-approved schools. A year later 12 of the students returned, joined by 25 new students. Those in the Arts and Science program were required to take 12 credits each of English and history, 10 in chemistry, 3 each in algebra and trigonometry, and 24 credits from among education, French, Latin, biology, analytic geometry or differential calculus. Those in pre-medicine were required to take 15 credits of chemistry, 12 of French, 8 of physics and four of zoology. Brick Junior College was regionally approved by SACS.
Total enrollment was listed as 350 in 1920. It had been as high as 460. By 1926 it was down to 259—81 elementary students, 241 in high school and 37 in the junior college. But the Great Depression cut both enrollment and funds. Scheutz states that total school enrollment was down to 168, while AMA funds were cut by 45%.
Like most Black schools, Brick had a strong music program. In 1897 Commonwealth newspaper mentions a piano and vocal concert with “splendid singing” that attracted white audiences. In 1930 Crisis reported that the school had performed “Three Dreams,” with a sextette singing the mood music from Lucia de Lammermoor.
Bricks and Mortar
Mrs. Brick had acquired the Estes Plantation in Edgecombe County, 70 miles northeast of Raleigh. According to Answering the Call for Life and Liberty, the plantation had been used to “break in” slaves and still contained the site of a whipping post. Fifty of the 1,129 acres of the plantation became the school campus, 79 acres were used to provide produce for the school; the rest was rented out to tenant farmers.
In addition to a number of frame cottages and farm buildings, the campus contained five brick buildings. Benedict Hall, the original multi-purpose building, burned in 1904. Brewster Hall, (1898) and Beard Hall were dormitories; Elma Hall (1899) was a clasroom building. A new Benedict Hall was built in 1905. Ingraham Chapel (ca. 1900) had an auditorium seating 1,000.
When Brick Junior College closed, the campus became home to the Brick Rural Life School. This AMA sponsored venture focused on farm improvement and a cooperative approach to education. At present the Franklinton Center, a United Church of Christ conference retreat and educational facility occupies the old campus.
Without a gymnasium, BJC had four tennis courts, three basketball courts and volleyball and croquet grounds. It had a nine-member athletic association and was a member of the North Carolina Athletic Association. Newspapers show mens and womens basketball in addition to football.
College Football Data Warehouse shows a few football games played between 1926 and 1933, a period coinciding with the junior college period. Available results show six wins, five losses and three ties. Opponents included Fayetteville State, Shaw, Livingstone, North Carolina A&T, North Caroline Central, St. Augustine, Virginia Union, and Lynchburg.
(left) a domestic science class in cooking. (right)a class in mechanical drawing. Both images from Era of Progress and Promise http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll37/id/4301. Accessed 6-16-2018
"Looking West from Brewster Hall, Joseph K. Brick School, Enfield, N.C." Schuetz identifies Elma Hall as the building surrounded by trees and Ingraham Chapel with the tower. Image from the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.