Bruce High School has served the African American community of Dyersburg and Dyer county for over 100 years. I say forgotten because it is a forgotten place to most Tennesseans. Located on the proverbial other side of the tracks, blocks behind the old city cemetery, this is not a school landmark that you drive by and admire. No you have to search for it–unless you are among the hundreds of still living alumni. You know exactly where it is, and obviously the community with the active help of the city takes excellent care of what’s left.
The present building dates to 1951, the decade when the state finally started to build modern schools for blacks in hopes of delaying integration for another generation.
The community has built an impressive heritage room, decorated in the school’s distinctive black-red colors.
The centerpiece is the historic gym, scene of regional tournaments, community events, concerts, and NAACP meetings, among many other things. It is a grand secular space for the community.