Collection Number: 05745

Collection Title: Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)
Abstract The Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s, documents the history of the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Domestic, and Normal School (later renamed Brick Junior College), a traditional and trade school for African American students founded by the American Missionary Association near Enfield, Edgecombe County, N.C. Included are lists of students, images of students and buildings, printed materials, published and unpublished histories of the school, interviews with alumni and their children about daily life at school, and other materials that relate to Cofield's Brick School history project.
Creator Cofield, Willa.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Willa Cofield Brick School Collection #05745, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Willa Cofield in May 2017 (Acc. 103067).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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The Brick School, also known as the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Domestic, and Normal School and later as Brick Junior College, was founded in 1895 by the American Missionary Association (AMA) near Enfield in Edgecombe County, N.C. Mrs.(Julia) Joseph Keasbey Brewster Brick of Brooklyn, N.Y., donated 1,129 acres of farm land to build the school, which was just one of many the AMA started for African American children and teachers during the last half of the 19th century.

Thomas Sewell Inborden, the first principal, instituted a holistic educational program that developed students' abilities in the traditional liberal arts as well as trades, such as carpentry, agriculture, and domestic science. Brick School also was a working farm and students were required to contribute to the care of crops and livestock, the dining hall, and laundry; some worked extra hours to reduce their tuition.

The Brick School opened as a primary school with one student on the first day. By the end of the school year it had enrolled 54 boarding and day students. Brick School later developed a program for high school and in 1926 became a junior college. The highest enrollment for any one year was 460 students, over half of whom were boarders in dormitories. Many graduates went on to attend other AMA schools, including Howard University, Fisk University, and Oberlin College and became teachers, physicians, and farmers.

The Great Depression reduced financial donations and made it more difficult for students to pay tuition, requiring the school to close in 1933. The land and two extant buildings are now part of the Franklinton Center at Bricks.

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The Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s, contains papers, photographs, and audiovisual materials documenting the history of the Joseph Keasbey Brick Agricultural, Domestic, and Normal School, later renamed Brick Junior College, founded by the American Missionary Association near Enfield in Edgecombe County, N.C. The Brick School educated African American students in both traditional liberal arts and trade curriculums. Included are lists of students; images of students and buildings; printed materials; published and unpublished histories of the school, including Willa Cofield's "A Guide to Teaching the History of Brick School" and a history written by the school's first principal, Thomas S. Inborden; interviews with alumni and their children about daily life at school; and other materials that relate to Cofield's Brick School history project.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s.

400 items.
Box 1-2

Box 1

Box 2

Papers, 1895-1990s #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." Box 1-2

Photographs have been removed and filed in folders with the same title.

Image Box 1

Photographs, 1895-1990s #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." 1

Audiocassette C-05745/1

Dorothy I. Miller interview by W. Long and W. Blackshear, 7 March 1991 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/1

Audiocassette C-05745/2

Brick School history project, 20 August 1991 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/2

Audiocassette C-05745/3

Virginia Wills, 22 August 1991 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/3

Audiocassette C-05745/4

Advisory Committee meeting at Franklinton Center, N.C., August 1991 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/4

Audiocassette C-05745/5

Brick students, 18 January 1992 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/5

Audiocassette C-05745/6

Scholars, 18 January 1992 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/6

Audiocassette C-05745/7

Scholars #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/7

Audiocassette C-05745/8

Dorothy I. Miller, 1 February 1992 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/8

Audiocassette C-05745/9

Mrs. Alice Jennings Archibald, New Brunswick, N.J., 16 June 1992 (?)/ Work of the AMA, read by W. Cofield, T. S. Inborden (?), Interview of Dorothy Miller #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." C-05745/9

Alice Jennings Archibald taught at Brick Junior College

Videotape VT-05745/1

Untitled #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/1

Videotape VT-05745/2

Interview of Julia Exum, 4 February 2001 (337767-001) #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/2

Videotape VT-05745/3

Brick School site/ Interview of Mae Cofield, Tape #5 (337767-002) #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/3

Videotape VT-05745/4

Lowe's strip mall/ Brick School, 3 February 2001, #6. Brick students, 3 February 2001, #7 (337767-004) #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/4

Videotape VT-05745/5

Brick School: window dub 8, interview Virginia and Hubert Wills #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/5

Videotape VT-05745/6

Brick School window dub 9, Inborden students #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/6

Videotape VT-05745/7

Brick School window dub, tape 12 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/7

Videotape VT-05745/8

Brick School window dub, tape 13, exhibit opening #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/8

Videotape VT-05745/9

Brick School window dub, tape 14, exhibit opening final, empowerment agency #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/9

Videotape VT-05745/10

Brick School window dub, tape 15, exhibit opening Mrs. Miller, empowerment #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/10

Videotape VT-05745/11

Brick School window dub, tape 16, exhibit opening, Ms. Forney (?), Mrs. Miller, empowerment agency #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/11

Videotape VT-05745/12

Brick School window dub, tape 17, site, empowerment agency #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/12

Videotape VT-05745/13

Brick School window dub, tape 18, site, empowerment agency #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/13

Videotape VT-05745/14

Brick School window dub, tape 19, site sunset, empowerment agency #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/14

Videotape VT-05745/15

Brick School digital master, Charles S. Powell, 1999 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/15

Videotape VT-05745/16

Virginia Wills, tape 22, 30 May 2000 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/16

Videotape VT-05745/17

Mae Cofield and Lovie Hardy, 30 December 2000, #1 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/17

Videotape VT-05745/18

Julia Exum, Camp Kwanzaa, 29 December 2000, #2 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/18

Videotape VT-05745/19

Virginia Wills, Bud Wills, 29 December 2000, #3 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/19

Videotape VT-05745/20

Christmas party, 30 December 2000, #4 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/20

Videotape VT-05745/21

Brick School site, 30 December 2000, #5 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/21

Videotape VT-05745/22

Brick students including Julius Brown, dub for DV cam, #6 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/22

Videotape VT-05745/23

Lowe's strip mall, Brick School, 3 February 2001, #6 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/23

Videotape VT-05745/24

Brick students, dub for DV cam, 3 February 2001, #7 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/24

1. Brick students, two ladies outside interview continued; 2. Brick student with sunglasses inside interview; 3. Virginia Wills dinnertime; 4. V. Wills with pictures.

Videotape VT-05745/25

Brick students, 3 February 2001, #7 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/25

Videotape VT-05745/26

Virginia Wills viewing pictures, 3 February 2001, #8 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/26

Videotape VT-05745/27

Virginia Wills viewing pictures, Brick School site, dub for DV cam, #8 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/27

Videotape VT-05745/28

Brick site, Inborden students, dub for DV cam, 4 February 2001, #9 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/28

Videotape VT-05745/29

Brick School site, Inborden students, 4 February 2001, #9 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/29

Videotape VT-05745/30

Inborden students Mae Cofield and Julia Exum, dub for DV cam, #10 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/30

1. Inborden students interviews continued; 2. Inborden students look at exhibit; 3. Mae Cofield interview; 4. Julia Exum interview.

Videotape VT-05745/31

Inborden students, 4 February 2001, #10 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/31

Videotape VT-05745/32

Julia Exum, 4 February 2001, #11 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/32

Videotape VT-05745/33

Julia Exum and Behind the Veil, dub for DV cam, 4 February 2001, #11 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/33

Behind the Veil is a 3-part series. The third one has Brick School featured in it.

Videotape VT-05745/34

Beta transfer tape #12/13 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/34

Videotape VT-05745/35

Beta transfer tape #14/15 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/35

Videotape VT-05745/36

Beta transfer tape #16/17 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/36

Videotape VT-05745/37

Beta transfer tape #18/19, Brick School site #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/37

Videotape VT-05745/38

Charles Powell interviews Brick reunion, dub for SVHS #21A, 1994 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/38

Videotape VT-05745/39

Charles Powell interviews Brick reunion, V. Wills interview, dub for SVHS and VHS, #21B and 22 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/39

Videotape VT-05745/40

D. Miller audio, Part 1 Willa interview #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/40

Videotape VT-05745/41

Willa--Brick School, Scarlet Narvalia (?), 12 May 2001 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/41

Videotape VT-05745/42

Photos, film/video arts, 22 August 2001 #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/42

Videotape VT-05745/43

Narrative: Site tape with Maria #05745, Series: "Willa Cofield Brick School Collection, 1895-1990s." VT-05745/43

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nancy Kaiser and Biff Hollingsworth, October 2017

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, October 2017

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