Cameron Morrison School historical marker

Cameron Morrison School (K-37)

State home & school for African American boys, 1925-77. Agricultural, vocational, and academic skills taught 3 mi. W.

Location: US 1 between Bowen and Caddell Rd. in Hoffman
County: Richmond
Original Date Cast: 1954

Work for the care of delinquent youth in North Carolina began in 1890 when the State Board of Public Charities passed a resolution calling for the appointment of a committee to formulate plans for a juvenile reform school for offenders. In 1907 the legislature passed an act creating the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School in Cabarrus County. In 1909 the school opened to serve 120 white male adolescents.

By the 1920s Thad Tate, a black barber and civic leader from Charlotte, was voicing his concern about the large number of black youths being placed on chain gangs as punishment for committing crimes. Tate approached one of his clients, Cameron Morrison, then a candidate for governor, and suggested a training school be established for young black men in trouble with the law. His proposition was that, just as at the Stonewall Jackson School, offenders could learn a trade and be given a new start in life.

In 1925, during Cameron Morrison’s term as governor, the Cameron Morrison Training School for Negroes was opened on a 700-acre farm in the community of Hoffman in Richmond County. The school’s core curriculum included English, social studies, mathematics, and science. Vocational education courses offered included shoe repair, electricity, carpentry, brick masonry, auto mechanics, barbering, arts and crafts, vocational agriculture, and graphic arts. As stated in the Second Annual Report of the Morrison Training School “the school committed itself to the task of making citizens rather than punitive repression.” By the end of the school’s first year in operation the school’s population had grown from thirty-seven to sixty-two and by 1956, the enrollment had risen to 228. The school closed during the 1970s and the property was turned over to the Department of Correction.

Biennial Report of North Carolina Correctional Institutions under the N.C. Board of Correction and Training (1956)
North Carolina Board of Correction and Training Report, copy in State Library of North Carolina (undated)
Second Annual Report of the Morrison Training School for the Training of Negro Boys (1926)

Related Topics: