The Pine Torch

Dr. Laurence C. Jones, Piney Woods’ founder, saw his philosophy reflected in the idea and name of The Pine Torch. Here are Dr. Jones’ own words describing howThe Pine Torch was named.

Over fifty years ago when I came from Iowa to Mississippi, there were no flashlights in the rural districts among the colored people. We walked several miles to church at night, through the deep piney woods, by the light of a pine torch — the [person] in the front holding it high above his head and the rest of us trooping along behind.

Pine torch is made up of slivers of fat pine— that is pine that still has rosin and turpentine in it. Some called it lightered — I guess a contraction for light wood — not in weight but the possibility of making a light. I discovered that two slivers would not burn but created a coating of carbon. But three or more pieces would make a torch — for the air circulating between the slivers would mean no carbon. So I got to thinking that I and my faculty could not do anything by ourselves to create light in these piney woods. However, with the help of the northern and southern friends I could make, we would together create a light — throw the torch to others. With that in mind I thought it a good idea…to call our school paper “The Pine Torch.”

The Piney Woods School’s voice for over fifty years has been The Pine Torch. The paper, now an annual publication for friends, donors, alumni, and students, has been a way to share information about the school‘s philosophy, activities, programs, students’ work, letters from friends, notes about visitors, and ideas.

If you have any news or photos you’d like to share in the next issue of The Pine Torch, please let us know. We can always use your Class Notes! Use the “Update Your Information” form to tell us about your work, interests, where you live, additions to the family, death, and other new endeavors in your life. Email photos to and be sure to identify each person in the photo!

Interested in receiving the Pine Torch?  Fill out the online form to join our mailing list.


Recent Issues 

The Pine Torch - Fall/Winter 2011 PDF (34.44 MB)

The Pine Torch - Spring/Summer 2012 PDF (6.24 MB

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