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Cooper’s Academy – Cades, South Carolina


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Update: Cooper’s Academy is no longer standing as of April, 2017.

What remains of Cooper’s Academy stands in the Williamsburg County hamlet of Cades. Built in 1905, the private school was established by Moses Cooper, H.J. Cooper, and Ada Martin for African-American children. The school served local students but also included dormitories for students who lived in communities where black children had no access to education.

Cooper's Academy Cades

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The school was originally called Cooper’s Academy, Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Youth but eventually was shortened to Cooper’s Academy. Though local residents raised and contributed funds for the school, a modest tuition was required of students in order to keep the school in operation. It remained a private academy until 1927.

Cooper's Academy Historic Marker

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

From 1927 until 1958 the school continued as a black public school serving the Williamsburg County school district. In 1958 two black public schools consolidated, forcing Cooper’s Academy to close. Schools in Williamsburg County slowly began desegregating in 1965, though the county was not officially desegregated until 1970. Desegregation was difficult in rural pockets of the county where few-to-no white students lived.

Coopers Academy Marker

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

According to the document, School Desegregation in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, in 1968, there were 886 students in Cades attending school in kindergarten through 12th grade; all were black. In neighboring Hebron, 271 students – all white – attended school in the same grades. When Cades-Hebron High school was established, the numbers of both black and white students became more balanced.

Today the shell of Cooper’s Academy rests on land owned by Bethesda United Methodist Church.

More Pictures of Cooper’s Academy


Cooper Academy

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cooper's Academy

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Cooper's Academy Side

Brandon Coffey of Charleston, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent


Cooper’s Academy Info


Address: 2000 Cade Road, Cades, SC 29518
GPS Coordinates: 33.762097,-79.672758


Cooper’s Academy Map




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2 Comments about Cooper’s Academy

Lessie whiteNo Gravatar says:
September 12th, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Please try and save this peace of history.

St Mary SchoolNo Gravatar says:
February 8th, 2017 at 10:00 am

I would love to fine our old school, St. Mary School, on Highway 527 the new Sumter Highway in Kingstree, South Carolinas.





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