Friends of the Library presents ‘John Bate, Danville African-American Educator’ with J.H. Atkins
BOYLE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
In celebration of Black History Month, the Friends of the Library will host James H. Atkins 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 in the Community Room of the Boyle County Public Library. Atkins will present a program about John William Bate, an educator for African-American students in Danville for more than 55 years.
Born a slave in 1854, Bate’s family was given their freedom in 1862. He attended Berea College in the late 1800s, then came to Danville to teach in a one-room school. Over the years, Bate transformed the school into an accredited standard high school, growing the shanty school building to a building with 20 rooms, including an auditorium with seating for 700. When the Danville Schools integrated in 1964, Bate High School became Bate Junior High. In 1978, a new building was constructed behind the site of the original school and Danville Bate Middle School opened.
About the presenter: J.H. Atkins is a retired educator, having spent much of his career as a teacher and principal in the Danville Independent Schools system. Most recently he spearheaded diversity and expansion of student opportunities for learning at Centre College. He was instrumental in creating a community organization to improve tolerance and human relations that continues today. Atkins continues his interest in civic affairs as a Danville City commissioner.
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