Community Leader Spotlight: Mr. Luther Hollingsworth Jr. & The Lincoln School~ Preserving History and Uplifting A Community
For Black History Month we shine a spotlight on special community leader in Bledsoe County, Mr. Luther Hollingsworth Jr., President of the Lincoln Alumni Community Historical Association. Mr. Hollingsworth grew up in Pikeville, TN and attended the historical Lincoln Consolidated Rosenwald School from 1945 to 1953 for grades first through eighth. Lincoln School, a K-8 school, was the only African American school in Bledsoe County, so to continue his education Mr. Hollingsworth had to travel Old Highway 30 to Dayton and attend Carver High School, from which he graduated in 1957. After graduating high school Hollingsworth stayed in the community he loves and worked at the TAFT Youth Center until he retired. He was a part of the original board of alumni who took on the task of repairing the old schoolhouse, applying to have the structure recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, and bringing it back to life for the Black Community to enjoy once again.
The Lincoln School was designed to not only educate the youth, but to meet the needs of the African American community in Pikeville. The school housed many political rallies, guest speakers, church services, community events, performances and much more. It even served as a voting precinct until 1968. The Lincoln School represents a part of the African American History of Pikeville, a place that offered an opportunity for growth and education at a time segregation was the law of the land. Not only is the Lincoln School a part of local history, but national history as it is one of the last Rosenwald schools still standing in its original form in East Tennessee.
“It may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn’t keep the rain out and the paint from peeling,” said Mr. Hollingsworth. After the beloved Rev. James Bridgeman passed away, Hollingsworth took over his role as President of the Alumni Association. He along with Secretary of the Alumni Association, Mrs. Ann Lindo, and a couple other alumni continue to keep up the old schoolhouse and fulfill the Late Rev. Bridgeman’s dreams to leave behind a valuable landmark for the community. However, this task is getting harder as time marches on. “I’m about the only one left who went to school there,” said Mr. Hollingsworth. “It is getting hard to raise money for repairs when so many have passed on or moved away. We are worried we will have no one to pass it on to.” If you would like to make a donation to help preserve a part of Bledsoe County and Tennessee history or volunteer your time contact Mr. Luther Hollingsworth Jr. at (423)447-6601.