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This is a contributing entry for M.B. Mayfield Heritage Trail and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

Although the Judon Lines elementary school is no longer standing, its legacy lives on through the paintings of M.B. Mayfield. Judon Lines Elementary School, also called the Judon School, was located across the road from Mayfield’s childhood home and was where he spent a large part of his time as a child.

Painting on left: The Gandy Dancers (Painted by M.B. Mayfield). Painting on right: Ecru Colored School (Painted by M.B. Mayfield). Photo by David Helms.

two painting, railway on the left, red brick schoolhouse on the right

Judon School - New Building (Drawing by M.B. Mayfield, Published in The Education of Mr. Mayfield by John F. Blair.)

black and white painting of Judon Schoolhouse

The Ecru Colored School (Painting by M.B. Mayfield, The Pontotoc County Library)

color painting of the Ecru Colored School, a red building with a green roof and white doors

The Judon Line Elementary School was founded by M.B. Mayfield’s grandfather Adam Judon, and it was the only primary school for African American children in Ecru into the 1940's. The original Judon School building was a one room, log-cabin similar in style to the other thirty-two schools for Black students in Pontotoc County. Mayfield's family lived and raised cotton and other crops on a roughly one hundred acre farm that was just across the street from the school. While attending the Judon School, Mayfield learned essential skills like reading, writing, and math. As a child, Mayfield used supplies from school to draw simple sketches of his memories. When he was 13 years old, Mayfield was forced to leave school and work on his family’s farm full-time like many children in farming families at that time. He only completed school through the eighth grade as a result. As an adult, Mr. Mayfield l took the GED exam in 1951 and earned a high school diploma. The Judon School was connected to Mayfield's family history, and it became a subject of his memory paintings when he became an artist. In 1950, Mayfield painted the building that replaced the old Judon Line schoolhouse of his childhood, and he titled that painting The Ecru Colored School. You can see his painting of the Ecru Colored School at the Pontotoc County Library in Pontotoc, Mississippi.

Entry by Samantha Rice.

Updated by Jeannie Speck-Thompson 1/19/24

Mayfield, M.B. .The Baby Who Crawled Backwards: An Autobiography. Memphis, TN. Langford and Associates, 2003

Afamasaga, John Reyer (Director). (2019). Door Ajar - The M.B. Mayfield Story [Film]. Three Times Dot Org.

Magee, D. (2009). The Education of Mr. Mayfield: An Unusual Story of Social Change at Ole Miss. John F. Blair, Publisher. 

Ware, Shirley and Burns, Keon, "Ware, Shirley" (2021). Oral History Interviews. 7.

Foster, B. Brian (2021, October 19). An Artist Yet: The Possibility of M.B. Mayfield. Mississippi Folklife.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Digital Image from John Reyer Afamasaga