North Sunflower Academy

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North Sunflower Academy
North Sunflower Academy is located in Mississippi
North Sunflower Academy
North Sunflower Academy
Coordinates33°46′06″N 90°32′23″W / 33.768252°N 90.539809°W / 33.768252; -90.539809Coordinates: 33°46′06″N 90°32′23″W / 33.768252°N 90.539809°W / 33.768252; -90.539809
Enrollment126 (2016[1])

North Sunflower Academy is a private school in unincorporated Sunflower County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta area, between Ruleville and Drew.[2][3] The school has grades Kindergarten through 12.[4] As of 2002, the school draws students from Doddsville, Drew, Merigold, Ruleville, Schlater, Tutwiler, and Webb.[5] In the 2015–2016 school year, two black children were enrolled in grades 1-12.[1]


The school originated as a segregation academy.[6] After the Drew School District was desegregated, white residents of Drew enrolled their children in North Sunflower Academy.[7]

In 1969 the State of Mississippi passed a law written by Ruleville-based state senator Robert L. Crook that allowed Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) employees to use up to $60 ($409.93 when adjusted for inflation) every month to pay for educational costs for their children. As a result some Parchman employees sent their children to North Sunflower Academy, and the State of Mississippi used general support funds to pay for some of North Sunflower Academy's transportation costs, including school buses, bus drivers, and gasoline. According to a November 1974 Delta Democrat Times article, the State of Mississippi spent over $250,000 (equivalent to $1,270,074 in 2018) when adjusted for inflation) in tuition costs and thousands of dollars in transportation costs for North Sunflower.[8] By that time nobody had legally challenged that law in court. Constance Curry, author of Silver Rights, stated that it was legal under Mississippi law but may have been unconstitutional under U.S. federal law.[9]

In 2002 the school had about 180 students, a decrease from its maximum of 200 from several years prior. Headmistress Sarah W. Love said that the lack of industry led to a decrease in students. Many families moved to Cleveland, Mississippi, where the public schools were considered to be better than those in other Mississippi Delta towns.[5]

According to Charles Bussey, author of the 2004 book Where We Stand: Voices Of Southern Dissent, the assistant superintendent of the North Sunflower Academy discussed with him high expulsion, suspension, and dropout rates in Drew High School, which at that time had become mostly black.[10]


In 2013, the building had a Confederate flag on its side.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Private School Universe Survey". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Home." North Sunflower Academy. Retrieved on August 10, 2010. "North Sunflower Academy 148 Academy Road Drew, MS 38737"
  3. ^ "Driving directions Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine." North Sunflower Academy. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "Admissions." North Sunflower Academy. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "No simple solutions to education, workforce training problems. (Focus Delta & River Cities)." Mississippi Business Journal. May 27, 2002. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986. UNC Press Books, 2004. 243. Retrieved from Google Books on March 2, 2011. "Sunflower County's two other segregation academies— North Sunflower Academy, between Drew and Ruleville, and Central Delta Academy in Inverness— both sprouted in a similar fashion." ISBN 0-8078-5561-8, ISBN 978-0-8078-5561-4.
  7. ^ Turner, Billy. "The hometown Archie once knew is no more." The Times-Picayune. Saturday January 26, 2009. Retrieved on March 30, 2012.
  8. ^ "Tuition lawsuit filed". Delta Democrat Times. p. 12.
  9. ^ Curry, Constance. Silver Rights. Algonquin Books, 1995. ISBN 1565120957, 9781565120952. p. 208.
  10. ^ Bussey, p. 150-151. "Other whites remain adamant today in their belief that the civil rights movement ruined "the Southern way of life." The headmistress of the all-white private Sunflower Academy [sic] told us the history of its establishment, and the assistant school superintendent spoke of the high dropout, expulsion, and suspension rates in the now mostly black Drew High School."
  11. ^ Mader, Jackie (2013-02-13). "Q&A with filmmaker Carmen Scott: Mississippi wants to 'move forward'". The Hechinger Report. Retrieved 2017-05-27.

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