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African Americans > Union
Union Academy was the intellectual heart of the African-American community in Gainesville and Alachua County for almost 60 years. Built by the Freedmen's Bureau and support of the George Peabody Fund and northern friends, it covered elementary through high school. The building was originally only one floor, but a second floor was added in the 1890s. Originally designed for 120 students, it opened with 175, and in 1898 enrollment numbered more than 500. It was located at the intersection of Northwest 1st Street and 6th Avenue (Garden Avenue and West Lassiter Street before July 1, 1950). The virtues of sobriety, thrift, industry, and order were emphasized in addition to traditional studies. Although the first teachers were white Northerners, by the late 1870s black Union graduates began teaching in their alma mater. In the 1880s a school was established within the Academy to train teachers for black students. Sadly, no record of the fate of the structure has been found.
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