A.M. Strange given name, Armstead Mitchell Strange was born on Oct 14, 1884, in Waterproof, LA., to Tillman Benjamin Strange and Millie Hunter Strange. His father Tillman was born in 1860 during slavery and died Jan 1927. He was one of seventeen children some of his siblings in the 1900 U.S. census were: William, Ella, Bessie, Bula, Luther, Etta Lee, Gladys A, Mabel M, Leman L, and Richelieu E. Strange. Armstead M. Strange was living in Collins Ward 6, in Covington, Mississippi on Bryan Avene. He was married to Henryene Strange. His occupation was teaching. He owned his own home in 1910. A young girl named Rosa Taylor and his sister Ella Strange were living in the house with him and his wife. His brother Tillman ( Tilghman) was born 1883. and moved to Chicago and became a physician. He died in 1920 at the age of 37 years old. He was buried in Lincoln Cemetery. One of his other brothers named Williams M. Strange, died in Chicago as well on Dec 1, 1932, by occupation he was a Postal worker.
Ten years later he and wife Henryene were living in Tupelo, Mississippi. On the 1930 and 1940 censuses, he was listed as mulatto. In 1930, they were still living in Tupelo, Mississippi, he had become the Superintendent of the school. Living in the home with him and his wife: Lehman, Riechilen, Truman and, Mabel Strange.
|Prentiss Institute Rosenwald School, Prentiss, Jefferson Davis County|
He received his elementary education at Waterproof while his college studies were done at Alcorn College, where he finished in 1902. He was admitted as a freshman in the fall and completed his college work with the Bachelor of Science Degree. A.M. Strange came to Tangipahoa Parish via Collins, Miss. He was one of the first of his family to earn an educational diploma, and he was instrumental in seeing to it that his brothers and sister did likewise. He is remembered as one with a very stern personality and believed in earning one's way. One family member recalled going to live with him in order to attend school and was greeted with, " Get a broom and start sweeping."
The school for blacks in Kentwood struggle along unto the fall of 1910. This is the year that Mr. Strange, who was principal at Collins, joined several local white businessmen, who donated money. Constructed Kentwood Industrial School for blacks. Mr. Strange raised the money, purchased the land, and erected the buildings, one of which was named for him.
The scholastic year 1911-12, marked the beginning of the County Training School Movement as far the Slater Fund is concerned. Professor A.M. Strange wrote to Dr. James H. Dillard, general agent for the John F. Slater Fund (a philanthropic fund for the advancement of Negro education), soliciting aid for a black school that would be located in Kentwood, Louisiana. Professor Strange established Kentwood first County Training School for Negroes. After starting several such schools in both states, he labored for fifteen years at Tupelo, Mississippi.
He was elected to head the Coahoma County Agricultural High School in Clarkdale, Miss., which he did for one year. In 1933 he was named the president of Okolona Industrial School, an American Church Institute School which he improved into a junior college. When he left to become president of the Ministerial Institute and College at West Point, Miss., where he built up a dilapidates school into a solid institution.
Several of my own family members attended the school. My uncle Jasper Harrell, Sr., and his brother Roosevelt Harrell, Sr. are two of my direct lineage that traveled from Amite to Kentwood to go to school. President A.M. Strange, who has served as president and principal of several Negro schools and colleges, died July 7th, at the age of 59. His funeral was held at Tupelo Baptist church with all the Negro ministers of the community officiating, assisted by Dr. Charles G. Hamilton of Aberdeen, his rector. President Strange was one of the great educational leaders of his people. He started the first Rosenwald School in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi.
Professor Strange rendered distinguished service to Negro education. His legacy and service rendered should never be forgotten in the African American communities. He left a monument in many institutions of learning and religion, but even more in the hearts of all who knew him.
I would like to thank my colleague Leonard Smith III for all the research he found on Professor Strange. Leonard found his name and other records that were vital to this blog post.
MAJOR BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
Genealogist/Family Historian: Leonard Smith III
Death Notice, August 22, 1943
Souvenir Program " Tangipahoa Parish Training School Dillon Memorial High School, School Reunion 1911-1969