John G. Riley House & Museum
2009, March 17 – Crooms mss.
Papers, collected articles, photographs, and memorabilia of J.N. Crooms, Crooms Academy, Welricha Corp., and Florida Teachers Association
Donation. John G. Riley Museum Archives, Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, Florida (from: Stephen Jenkins in honor of his parents, Nathalie Jenkins Crooms and Joseph Nathaniel Crooms).
The Joseph Nathaniel Crooms mss. consist of documents related to Crooms Academy named for J.N. Crooms, whose parents were slaves on a Tallahassee area plantation, and who, along with his wife, Wealthy Mabel Crooms, started the school Crooms Academy and were its first principal and assistant principal respectively. J.N. Crooms personally purchased 7.5 acres in order to expand the school as it grew (it was later purchased by the school board). Crooms’ staff included Grace Hankerson, Eva Handy, Maude Collins, Mattie Bolden, Cedar Mason Neal, Katherine Holly, Viola Cave and others.
The three members of its first graduating class in 1931 were: Willie Fields Feacher, Joseph White and Suzie Davis.The Crooms Academy began operation in 1920. From 1920 until 1970, the Crooms Academy continued to bring a great educational experience to all those that attended. The school produced leaders for us today in business, politics, sports, and many other areas of professional life.
Mr. Crooms also worked with Mary Jane Mcleod-Bethune as members of the Welricha Corp., which owned a beach front motel and restaurant on Bethune-Volusia Beach, as well as the Florida Negro Teachers Association. By the advent of his death, Mr. Crooms was considered one a pioneer for Negro education in the state of Florida.
The collection is divided into six series:
- Series 1: Crooms Academy
- Series 2: Crooms Academy Activities
- Series 3: Bethune-Volusia Beach Incorporated and Welricha Corporation
- Series 4: Seminole County School/ Teacher Association Information
- Series 5: Personal Memorabilia
- Series 6: Photographs
Riley House/TCC Archives
Tallahassee Community College (TCC) has partnered with the Riley House Museum to house a vast number of collections that will allow TCC students to be exposed to the history of African Americans in Florida, as well as Florida history, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. Scholars of all disciplines will find the archives to be a unique and helpful resource.