Jefferson Davis Academy (JDA) is a private Christian school in Blackville, South Carolina with 165 students, down significantly from just a few years ago. The school is 99% White and has a very high teacher to student ratio. JDA students can be seen online wearing traditional bow ties, visiting Southern heritage sites and posing with Confederate reenactors. Though a small school, JDA has good facilities and an athletics program which includes football, baseball, volleyball, basketball and softball teams.
The nearby public high school of Blackville-Hilda is 75% Black with 82.6% of the student body receiving free or reduced lunch assistance. Its enrollment has also dropped significantly in recent years. It is ranked as one of the 100 worst schools in the United States despite the claim of its Superintendent Teresa Pope that it is “striving for excellence.”
Blackville, South Carolina has a declining population of about 2,300, 75% of whom are Black. The town’s mayor and city leaders say that gang activity is a growing problem and that the community faces a violence “crisis.” Blackville’s high crime rate, poverty and failing schools are an example of what US values and policies such as equality, mass democracy and forced integration have done to small Southern towns.
JDA is a bright spot in a troubled community. Southern institutions such as it are vital for the long-term survival and well-being of the Southern people. The school proves that even in the most difficult of circumstances Southerners can maintain their identity and values while providing a good education and positive environment for their children.
I drove by JDA today and took the following pictures, which SF readers might enjoy of a great Southern Christian institution.
Also see: Farrell-O’Gorman House of Blackville, SC