Bossier Parish Folk Schools
By Ann Middleton
Popular in the 1930s, folk schools are institutions for adults where students learned American traditional arts and crafts, including blacksmithing, ceramics, cooking, jewelry, dance and music. Essentially, they are high schools that do not grant degrees.
The Bossier Parish Library Historical Center has in its archives a program sheet for one of the Bossier Parish folk schools.
On July 18th, 1939 the Bossier Folk School began at 2:00 pm with a forty minute recreational period (managed by then mayor Hoffman Fuller) and skit. This was followed by a program presented by the Agricultural Department titled "Turkey and Poultry Management." The Homemakers' Department programs were "Iris and Iris Culture" and "Flowers for Show." The Art, Business and Civic Department presented "Art as Applied to Everyday Life." Another schedule of programs followed with presentations about "Provisions of the Agricultural Conservation Program," "Strawberry Culture in Bossier" and "Let's Take an Honest Look at the South." At 4:30 an hour-long inspirational lecture was given. The program handout concluded with a reminder to "Bring Watermelons Tomorrow."
The July 19th schedule also began with a recreational period and was followed with programs similar to the previous day's programs. "The Value of Wildlife Conservation," "The Purchasing of Food," "How to Obtain Credit with Your Bank and Other Lending Agencies," "Why the South is the Number One Economic Problem of the Nation," "China, Silver and Glass for the Home" and "The Relationship of the Farmer and Other Business Men" were all on the day's agenda. Once again, an inspirational lecture concluded the day's activities. The closing reminder was "Remember the Watermelon Festival Tomorrow."
There was probably a third day of the folk school, but no evidence of it is found in the archives here at the Historical Center.
In an undated article from a Shreveport newspaper, one of Bossier's folk schools, to be held at Benton High School, was expected to be "the biggest gathering of its kind in Bossier Parish, with several notable speakers on the program." One photograph in the Historical Center archives pictures a large group of people who attended a folk school in Plain Dealing. (No date is noted.)
If you have information about the folk schools in Bossier Parish and would be interested in sharing it with us at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center, please call us at 746-7717, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.