the beebe school (beebe, Arkansas)
Property Owner: City of Beebe
GPS Location: 35.074544, -91.872990
Interests: Black History, Education History, Church History
Project Details: Replace Roof, Interior Restoration
Photo donated to the WCHS by Jennifer McDonough.
Or you can send a check to PO Box 537, Searcy, Arkansas 72145 with "Beebe School" as the memo
History of the Beebe school
The Beebe School, located at 802 E. Idaho Street, was built on August 24, 1944 by Gilbreath & Swan at the intersection of S. Apple and E. Idaho streets facing the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks. The property is significant because it served as a school for African American students during the era of “separate but equal” and was later a church. From 1944 to 1956, black students attended grades 1 through 7 at the Beebe School. Once they finished the 7th grade, students moved on to either Searcy or Little Rock to complete school. Mrs. Alsie Smith and Mrs. Rachel B. Smith were two teachers known to have taught at the school. In 1956, the Beebe School was shut down and black students were bussed to the White County Training School in Searcy, which was the black school of Searcy, until Searcy schools were integrated in 1964.
On July 29th, 1961, Ozier Moore was awarded the property by the Beebe Special School District after he provided the winning bid of $777.00. The building was then used in the following years by a Church of God in Christ congregation.
By 1987, the building had fallen in disrepair and was being used by Les Cossey as storage for his backhoe business. Mr. Moore continued to own the property until his death. Beginning in the early 2000s, Beebe historian Richard White (now deceased) advocated for the rehabilitation of the Beebe Colored School, ultimately nominating it to Preserve Arkansas's Most Endangered Places List in 2010. In September of 2019, Bob Moore, son of Ozier Moore, sold the property to the City of Beebe for $1.00 in the hopes that the building could be saved.
The Beebe School building is the last example of a segregated school for black students in White County. This makes the landmark extremely valuable for the local African American community as well as the entire county.
June 26, 2021
Beebe City Council votes to demolish the Beebe Schoolhouse.
August 23, 2021
Beebe City Council voted to retain ownership of the property and to stop the demolition of the building. WCHS fundraising has officially started!