Mather Academy | Olde English District

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Mather Academy

811 West DeKalb St.
Camden, SC 29020

This 19-acre site was the home of a multi-building campus of a private Methodist school for African Americans. It was established in 1867 by Sarah Babcock Mather who decided to create a school to teach children of former slaves for whom no formal educational institution existed. The Browning Home and Mather Academy opened a school with boarding facilities for girls in 1887. The original curriculum consisted of basic educational skills, instruction in social and family living and religion. Boys were enrolled for the first time in 1890 and the school had its first graduating class in 1893. In the 1930s Mather Academy was one of three schools in South Carolina to have a 12th grade. It merged with Boylan-Haven School of Jacksonville, Florida in 1959 and became known as the Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy. Mather had a peak student population of 300 in the 1940s-50s. The Academy produced some of South Carolina's most prominent African-American leaders in business, law, medicine and politics. One set of gates is all that remains of the campus. For more information on the school's history, reunion photos and more, visit the alumni website.