The Beloit Industrial Institute, which operated from 1888 to 1923, was the first Christian school for African-Americans in Dallas County. It was located on Highway 22 in the community of Beloit, AL about 10 miles southwest of Selma. The Beloit Industrial Institute was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on Aug. 6, 1993. The current school building was built in 1929 and it now serves as the Beloit Community Center.
Following are details provided on a historical marker that’s located at the in front of the school:
The Beloit Industrial Institute was founded in 1888 by Industrial Missionary Association, an area subdivision of the American Missionary Associations. The President of the Association, Dr. Charles B. Curtis, was a Presbyterian missionary and educator from Wisconsin who established the school and founded the Beloit community. Dr. Curtis named the community for his Alma Mater, Beloit College in Wisconsin. The Beloit Industrial Institute gained recognition as the first Christian school for African – Americans who lived in Dallas County.
From 1888 to 1923, the Beloit school functioned as the intellectual, social and religious hub for the thriving Beloit community. The school was the first in Dallas County to combine agribusiness training with strong Christian teachings. In 1923, the Dallas County School Board gained legal possession of the school which they retained until 1963 when desegregation and zoning forced the closing of the school’s doors. For a period of ten years, the school building was owned by a private business. In 1974 the building was purchased by the Beloit Community Organization. It now functions as a multi – purpose, community center and exists as a shining example of progress, self-reliance and community service for generations of past, present and future Alabamians.
Erected 1994 by Alabama Historical Commission / Beloit Community Organization