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Formal education for Tuscumbia's African American children began in 1870 at the Freedman School taught by Judge Wingo and his daughter in a church at the foot of the hill. In July 1877, the Osborne Colored Academy was established by African Americans and named in honor of Sandy Osborne, one of the trustees and a barber at the Franklin House Hotel. Tuscumbia Colored Public School opened in 1887 with Pleas Barton, a former Osborne Academy trustee, as principal. The Public School's first academic year concluded with graduation exercises in 1888.
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Tuscumbia Colored School was moved in 1905 from Delony Hill to the corner of 11th and High Streets where it remained until it closed. The name changed to Trenholm High School in 1921 to honor its third principal, George Washington Trenholm who served from 1896 to 1916. For over 90 years the school was a unifying force in the African American community as a center of culture, recreation, leadership, and education. It closed in 1969 as part of Tuscumbia's desegregation plan and students were transferred to Deshler High School. Fred Johnson was the last principal of Trenholm High School (1967-1969). The Trenholm buildings were subsequently torn down.