Ford, Benjamin F.

B.F. Ford was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1893 and came to New Albany in 1921 to serve as principal of the African American Union County Training School. At the time, the five-teacher school provided education only through the eighth grade. Ford was respected for his campaign against illiteracy, as well as for his discipline. Under Ford’s leadership, the school soon extended its education through the tenth grade; later he convinced the Union County school board to transform the school into a four-year high school. He acquired a gymnasium for his students long before other African American schools had gymnasiums, and he helped establish the first African American boy scout troop in northeast Mississippi.

After the Union County Training School burned in 1942, Ford oversaw the construction of a new facility. When Ford died in 1950, the school board aptly renamed the school the B.F. Ford High School. The school remained the principal African American high school through the 1950s and much of the 1960s. Today the B.F. Ford High School is a Head Start facility.

Sources:

History of the New Albany Schools

THE UNION COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY