Nearly 100 African-American boarding schools once existed across the United States, according to St. Petersburg Times columnist Bill Maxwell. As of 2010, however, only four remain. The schools range in location from upstate New York to southern Mississippi. Together, these schools constitute the membership of the Association of Historically African-American Boarding Schools.
Redemption Christian Academy
Redemption Christian Academy began educating students in 1979, according to its official website. Located in Troy, New York, RCA boasts a college-prep curriculum and a 1:10 teacher-student ratio as of 2010. The school offers both boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams, and has produced Detroit Pistons player Mike James (class of 1994) and current LA Lakers player Lamar Odom, who transferred to the school in his senior year of high school but ultimately graduated from a different school.
Redemption Christian Academy 192 Ninth Street Troy, NY 12180 518-272-6679 rcastudents.com
The Piney Woods School
Piney Woods opened its doors in 1909, making it the second oldest continually operating African-American boarding school, according to the school’s website. Located in Piney Woods, Mississippi, 21 miles south of Jackson, about 98 percent of the school's graduates attend college. Notable alumni include the members of the groups International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the Cotton Blossom Singers and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. The Piney Woods School accepts students in grades 9 through 12 and limits enrollment to 200 students.
The Piney Woods School P.O. Box 57 Piney Woods, MS 39148 601-845-2214 pineywoods.org
Pine Forge Academy
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church founded Pine Forge Academy in 1946. The school, which educates students in grades 9 through 12, sits on the outskirts of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. On average, 98 percent of its graduates go on to college, according to the school’s website.
Pine Forge Academy P. O. Box 338 Pine Forge, PA 19548 610-326-5800 pineforgeacademy.org
Founded in 1904, the Laurinburg Institute is a private, nonsectarian preparatory school, according to its website. Located in Laurinburg, North Carolina, about 90 miles south of Raleigh, Laurinburg counts Dizzy Gillespie among its alumni.
The school has a strong basketball tradition—NBA Hall of Famer Sam Brown attended Laurinburg, as did Charlie Scott and Charlie Davis, who in 1971 became the first black player to be named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year while starring at Wake Forest University. As of March 11, 2010, Laurinburg remains on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's "not cleared" list, according to the NCAA website, which means that grades and graduation from the Institute are inadmissible when determining prospective student-athletes' initial eligibility to compete in intercollegiate athletics.
Laurinburg Institute P.O. Box 1787 Laurinburg, NC 28353 910-276-0684 laurinburginstitute.org