JuneTeenth Celebration at Bradley Academy in Murfreesboro June 15th - June 17th

Apr 27, 2023 at 10:38 am by WGNS News

Bradley Academy Today and in the 1800s

LISTEN ABOVE: Listen to the full interview above to learn more about JuneTeenth and Bradley Academy. In the interview, WGNS' Scott Walker talks to Vonchelle Stembridge, Facility Coordinator of Bradley and Nate Williams, Murfreesboro Parks and Rec Director. The deadline to register your business or organization to be a part of JuneTeenth is May 17, 2023. 

Murfreesboro, TN - In 1806, Bradley Academy was built in Murfreesboro for the wealthy, only allowing white males to attend. Past President of the United States, James K. Polk, even attended the small school that sits near the local Rutherford County square. Polk was the 11th President of America and served between 1845 and 1849, which was 40-years after construction started to build Bradley Academy.


In the 1830s, a second Bradley Academy was built, which was later used as a hospital during the Civil War. The school was badly damaged during the era of the Stones River Battle, but eventually reopened with a new class… to serve the African American community in the 1880s.

In 1917, a new school was built and construction was completed in 1918. Vonchelle Stembridge, Facility Coordinator of Bradley, told WGNS News… In the 1900s, African American students had to walk to school as they were not allowed to ride the buses that transported white students to other nearby schools. Stembridge told us the student to teacher ratio was also unreasonable…

The annual JuneTeenth Celebration will be held at the historic school this year, which will be June 15th through June 17th. Each day will feature different events, with the Freedom Day celebration taking place between 10AM and 7PM on Saturday, June 17th…

Get Involved - If local businesses or organizations would like to get involved with the upcoming event, call Stembridge at the Bradley Academy Museum at 615-962-8773. The museum is open Monday through Tuesday through Saturday between 10 AM and 4 PM.  

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