ROCK MILLS (located in the Rock Mills community, the school burned in 1958)
ROCKMOUNTAIN, AKA Rocky Mount (located in the Broughton Ridge community)
WEDOWEE (located in the town of Wedowee)
WEHADKEE (located in the Wehadkee/High Shoals community, closed in 1954)
Unfortunately, none of these old schools are still standing.
Rosenwald School Database Searches can be made for schools by state and county or by name, if known. Pictures and other data relating to some of schools that were located in Randolph County are in the database.
Before the State of Alabama and Randolph County Boards of Education took on the responsibility of providing funding for teacher salaries and school building operating costs, Black communities educated their children in churches and Masonic halls. Elementary schools were in operation in the county in the 1880s and a few Black teachers were paid a small salary by the county. In Roanoke the Handley Colored Academy provided elementary education to students living in and around Roanoke.
Elementary students living in the Broughton Ridge area attended school in the Masonic Hall. The building, located near the Mt. Olive Methodist Church, is a two story structure that still stands. It is in dire need of restoration and deserves to be placed on the list of historic buildings by national and/or state historical preservation societies.
The Shining Light School was organized in 1908 in the Shining Light Community. The school house was a one-room frame building with scant provisions for light. Heat was furnished by a fireplace. Seats were made of rough lumber.
Mr. Jeff Belcher had a large farm in this area and built this school to provide a school for his laborers’ children.
For several years school was held in this building. It finally became too dilapidated to be used. School was then held in the Canaan Church which was located in this community, until the year 1953 when Shining Light School was moved into Rocky Mount School.
Note: Information taken from a document titled “Randolph County, Alabama – Schools and Teachers” compiled by Marie Hughes Rose”
A historic building located on South Street in Roanoke, AL once served as an elementary school for Black children. The school was constructed before 1909. The school was named after prominent landowner, politician, businessman, and Confederate Army officer, Captain William Anderson Handley.
Handley was also a local philanthropist who gave land to a variety of organizations to construct buildings. He stipulated that the buildings had to be named after him. Handley Mills and Handley High School were built on land donated by Captain Handley.
In 1919 the Handley Colored Academy and the lot it stood on was sold to Professor James A. Riley for $555.00. Riley was the principal of Rock Mills Elementary School and the father of Miss Louise Riley, a long-time librarian and French teacher at Randolph County Training School. The building was converted into a house for the Rev. A.J. Green, pastor of the First Baptist Church (Riley Street.) The house was later sold to the Rev. Allen Dean who currently resides there.