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Colored Memorial School and Risley High School

1800 Albany Street

Brunswick GA 31520

From marker:

Colored Memorial School and Risley High School

Brunswick's first public school for African Americans opened in 1870 as the Freedmen's School, later changed to Risley School to honor Captain Douglas Gilbert Risley, who raised funds for the school's construction. In 1923 the adjacent building, Colored Memorial High School, was built and named to honor African-American veterans in World War I. In 1936 Risley High School was built on the site of the 1870 Freedmen'd School and remained in service until 1955 when a new Risley High School was constructed. Both the Colored Memorial School and Risley High School are landmarks of African-American education in Glynn County. Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Glynn County Board of Education, and the Risley Alumni Association, Inc. 2004.4 63-5


Colored Memorial School was built in January 1922 and was renamed Risley High School in honor of Captain Douglas G. Risley. It is located at 1800 Albany Street in Brunswick. The first building, built in 1922, is in solid condition and is an excellent example of brick masonry and wood frame construction with Neoclassical Revival elements. The second building was constructed in 1936 and is a two-story building of brick masonry and wood frame construction. Both buildings retain original historic qualities and serve as an historic landmark. Both sites have recently applied for addition to the National Register of Historic Places. The Board of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands acquired the property from the American Missionary Association after the Civil War. The Glynn County Board of Education has owned the property since 1900. These schools have continued to operate since their opening. Originally intended as a school for African Americans, it is one of the few schools that survived desegregation. For more information, please contact the Glynn County School Board or Downtown Development Authority.

Related:, Harrington Community, Needwood Church and School

Georgia: Brunswick - Risley School Exhibition. [The American missionary. / Volume 32, Issue 10, Oct 1878]

Page(s) 303



Brunswick -- Risey School Exhibition. AS SEEN BY A SOUTHERNER.

This school is taught by S. B. Morse, a graduate of Atlanta University. The following account from a local newspaper.

MR. EDITOR: It has ever been a source of unfeigned pleasure to me to observe any efforts tending to the elevation and refinement of humanity. Hence, it was no less a pleasure than surprise last evening when I found so marvelously successful an effort in that direction, as evinced in the concert and exhibition--the closing exercises of the Risley School. Mr. Morse (a graduate of the University of Atlanta) may justly congratulate himself upon the proficiency attained by his pupils, considering the great difficulties and discouragements under which he has necessarily had to labor.

The colored people are born natural musicians; but the time, harmony and smooth rendering of the "part-songs" last night gave indubitable evidence of thorough culture and faithful practice. The declamation by the young scholars displayed good powers of memory and hard study. Their enunciation was distinct and perfect. The selections were excellent. With the single exception of an interruption by a few disagreeable, unmannerly boys, who evidently had as little respect for propriety, the affair went off without a break. Quite a number of white persons were present. Just before closing the exercises, Mr. Morse made a short and pertinent address. stating the numerous difficulties under which he had labored, but offering "the fruits of his labors" as the test of his fidelity and capacity for filling the position he proudly claimed, of "teacher." The Honorable President of the Board of Education and Mr. Kenrick, the county-school commissioner, were called upon for speeches, and expressed their hearty gratification at the degree of proficiency and the evidence of faithful study on the part of the school, and their satisfaction at the marked improvement in order, manner, and the advance in education, as clearly shown by their present exhibition.

We have to congratulate ourselves upon possessing a most quiet, respectable and law-abiding colored element. Their comfortable homes, with well-stocked gardens; their numerous churches, some quite pretentious in architecture, and, above all, their large and substantial free school, give proof that there is no question of their enjoyment of all "the rights, titles and emoluments" of a "free and independent citizen" in Brunswic

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