Bradley Academy
Bradley Acacemy.

Bradley Academy

Bradley Academy is a historic African American school in Murfreesboro that now serves as a community heritage center. The name Bradley Academy was given to the first school in Murfreesboro and to subsequent school buildings located on property donated by the Murfree family in 1811. Students attending Bradley Academy in its early years included John Bell and James K. Polk.

A second Bradley Academy, a substantial brick building erected in the 1830s, was later used as a hospital during the Civil War. Though badly damaged, Bradley reopened as a school for African Americans in the 1880s. In 1917 construction began on a modern facility designed by the Knoxville firm of Manley and Young. This building, the first black high school in the county, also became the social and cultural center for the black community and in the 1920s was the site of a health clinic supported by the Commonwealth Fund.

Bradley maintained strong academic, domestic science, and sports programs in addition to an orchestra and glee club. After Holloway High School was built in 1928, Bradley remained an elementary and junior high school until desegregation in the 1960s. At that time the building was used for offices and storage for Murfreesboro City Schools.

Under the auspices of the City of Murfreesboro and the Bradley Academy Historical Association (formed in 1990) and with funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Christy-Houston Foundation, the State of Tennessee, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, and private donations, the building was restored as a cultural/heritage center between 1995 and 1998.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Bradley Academy
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date June 17, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018