Lincoln Junior High School
When Southeast Missouri farmers began planting cotton in the 1920s, many African American families seeking jobs moved north. Those that settled in Sikeston were soon segregated into an area known as “Sunset Addition.” By 1941, the city realized Sunset Addition needed a larger school to meet the needs of the growing population. Architectural firm William B. Ittner, Inc. of St. Louis was selected to design the new school. The first portion of the project was completed in 1948 and included eight classrooms but the student body quickly outgrew the space, with as many as 80 students being taught in one room. The school board voted for an addition in 1952, adding two more classrooms and a gymnasium that doubled as a cafeteria. By 1956 over 400 students were enrolled in the school. By 1968, the Sikeston School District finalized integration and remaining students were enrolled elsewhere in the district. The district continued to use the building to house an adult vocational program and some areas of the building, like the gymnasium, were used for community purposes. It continued to serve a similar purpose well into the current century, most recently known as the “Lincoln Gloryland Community Center.” Now vacant, the building suffers from neglect. Windows have been broken and the interior needs major updates and repairs if it is to find a new use. The City of Sikeston is actively pushing to demolish the structure due to public safety concerns, but the owner is supportive of the building’s preservation. Efforts to save the school are spearheaded by the African Scientific Research Institute, a group dedicated to saving places that highlight the African American experience in America. It is hoped that listing Lincoln Junior High School as a Place in Peril will raise awareness for the role it played in Sikeston’s Black community00, and help raise funds for the building’s preservation. Visit asrip.org to donate and help save Lincoln Junior High School.
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