Berea College educated black and white students together until 1904 when Kentucky State Representative Carl Day convinced his colleagues to outlaw integrated education.
The Trustees of Berea resolved to continue educating black students and by 1910 completed construction of a school building in Simpsonville, Kentucky with the help of a challenge grant from Andrew Carnegie. The stone, brick and asbestos Tudor Revival building designed by Foster & Tandy opened its doors to eight-five students on October 1, 1912.
Whitney Moore Young (1921-1971), civil rights spokesman and advisor to three Presidents was the head of the school for over 40 years. The school experienced a steady decline in enrollment after 1954 when segregated education was outlawed and closed in 1970.
The U.S. Department of Labor currently leases 54 acres of the campus from the Lincoln Foundation for the operation of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Job Corps Center.
Mr. Larry McDonald, president of the Lincoln Foundation, invited photographers from St. George’s Community Center to document original architectural details of the building, which has undergone extensive modifications over the years. Student photographers Aaron Payne, 13, and Cherree Montgomery, 16 went to the campus in July with Ted Gatlin, Jr., St. George’s Community Center Freedom School Site Coordinator and graduate student at Kentucky State University and Donald Vish, originator of the photography and mentorship project at St. George's.
The image selected for use as a note card for the Lincoln Institute is a detail from the original floor of the entrance hall and is unchanged since the doors of the school first opened in 1912.
September 7, 2009