What is: The closed Strider Academy, a PK-12 school in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, which operated from 1971 until 2018.
What was: The school was established in 1971 as a segregation academy to allow white parents to avoid sending their children to racially integrated public schools. Strider Academy was named for the sheriff who investigated and obstructed justice in the murder of Emmett Till. He went on to become a state senator. Shortly before his death in 1970, Clarence Strider donated the land for Strider Academy.
The school campus suffered two fires in two weeks in August 1977. The main building and the field house were both destroyed. The FBI was involved in the investigation. In 1989, Greenwood public schools trustee Jeff Milman resigned after the NAACP protested his decision to enroll his children in Strider Academy instead of racially integrated public schools. Milman stated that his children wanted to attend Strider and that it was closer to his residence.
Strider Academy said it admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, tuition assistance programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
However, as of 2016, the school’s students were 96% white. Filings for the 2015–16 school year indicates that all seventy-two students at the school were white. Tallahatchie County is 54% black.
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