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Southern Normal School, a junior and senior high boarding school, was founded in 1911 by a Christian layman, James Dooley. Dooley began his work at the mission school as early as 1909. The aim of the school, as Dooley saw it, was to “educate the heart, head and hand of our youth.” The school was operated under the Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America as one of its permanent projects in 1919. The location was south-central Alabama, three miles northeast of Brewton, which was served by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and U.S. Highways 31 and 29. Southern Normal was a preparatory school with high academic standards. It prepared its students to enter first-rate colleges upon graduation. The curriculum was rich and varied, and provided well-rounded cultural, intellectual and religious training.

The boarding students came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and other areas. The students took their places as leaders of their communities as they graduated, went on to college, and returned to work in various professions. Until 1969, it was the only school in Brewton that educated African-Americans. In 1997, it became known as the Southern Normal Academy of Alabama State University.

The collection consists of brochures, essays, pamphlets, pictures, profiles, and publications concerning Southern Normal High School in Brewton,Alabama. Materials draw attention to the layout of the campus, former teachers, administrators, and the benefits of the school to young African-Americans throughout the South.


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