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CENTER POINT, TX (CAMP COUNTY)

CENTER POINT, TEXAS (Camp County). Center Point is just off Farm Road 2057 nine miles southeast of Pittsburg in southeastern Camp County. The site was originally settled by former slaves, beginning shortly after their emancipation in 1865. Because the major roads through the area crossed at the center of the community, the settlement came to be known as Center Point. Settlers in the area had established a church by 1873 and a school by 1889. These were the focus of the dispersed rural settlement. By 1897 the one-room, one-teacher school enrolled thirty-one black children. That year the school was listed in the county school superintendent's report as being in bad condition and worth only fifty dollars. The school term was 100 days.

In 1900 the residents of the community began a long and ultimately successful campaign to improve their school. By 1908 the school had two teachers, and bonds voted shortly thereafter financed a four-room school building in 1916. The General Education Board donated $1,700 for additional buildings, and Julius Rosenwald later made donations totaling $5,750, which were also used for buildings, including a library. By the 1935–36 school year the school had become in many respects one of the best schools in the county. Its physical plant included four buildings with ten classrooms and was valued at $14,000. Nine of the ten teachers who taught in the Center Point school had at least B.A. degrees, and, despite the fact that black teachers were typically paid less than white teachers with the same education and experience, the average teacher's salary at Center Point was higher than that at any other Camp County school, white or black. The school term was 176 days, only one day shorter than the longest school term in the county. The school enrolled 279 students, 129 in high school. Many of the high school students came from other districts that did not offer the upper grades.

During the late 1930s the population of the area began to decline, at first because of the Great Depression and then in the 1940s and 1950s because of increased economic opportunities for blacks in urban areas. By 1938 the enrollment in Center Point High School had dropped to seventy-eight, and by 1955 the district had been consolidated with the Pittsburg Independent School District. The 1983 county highway map showed two churches, a cemetery, and a community center at the site. The population was forty-one in 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Hollie Max Cummings, An Administrative Survey of the Schools of Camp County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1937). Artemesia L. B. Spencer, The Camp County Story (Fort Worth: Branch-Smith, 1974).

Cecil Harper, Jr.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Cecil Harper, Jr., "CENTER POINT, TX (CAMP COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrcbs), accessed October 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.