Historic Markers Across Florida

Jerkins High School

Marker ID: FLHM F-699
Location: On Martin Luther King Ave, Perry, FL
County: Taylor
Coordinates: N 30° 06.448    W 083° 35.612
  30.10746666    -83.59353333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMHRJH


Jerkins High School

In 1853, a family of free blacks established the Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church in what was then known as Rosehead, later Perry. The roots of African-American education in Taylor County began with this church, which remains the oldest congregation in the county. Fires in 1919 and 1923 destroyed two later black schools in Perry; the 1923 fire was a spillover of the racially-motivated destruction of the black Rosewood community in nearby Levy County. The original Jerkins High School was built in 1931 with funding from the Julius Rosenwald Fund Foundation, which helped to build thousands of rural black schools, mostly in the South. Originally named the Perry Negro High School, the school was re-named for principal Henry R. Jerkins, Jr. in 1946, and was the county's first school named for an African-American. A visionary, Jerkins expanded the school's offerings during his tenure as principal (1930-1937) to include all twelve grades, a rarity for black schools in Florida at the time. The 1931 building burned down in 1943, and the present facility was constructed in 1951. Jerkins High School closed in 1970, following integration, and in 1995 the school board donated it to the Taylor County Leadership Council.

Sponsored by the The Taylor County Leadership Council
and Florida Department of State


More Information:
Wikipedia - Rosenwald School
National Trust for Historic Preservation - Rosenwald Schools, A National Treasure
Wikipedia - Julius Rosenwald
Wikipedia - Booker T. Washington

City: Perry, FL