HAMILTON, N.C. (WNCT) This schoolhouse symbolizes education, hope and a new opportunity for black kids in the South.
The alumni remember their earliest childhood memories happening here.
One organization is working to revitalize the building and bring this beacon of hope back to the community.
It’s a piece of history sitting near the Roanoke River in Hamilton.
The Hamilton Rosenwald School built in 1920.
The vacant building is now 100 years old.
For children in the south in the early 1900’s, it was a chance for a better life.
Joseph Barnes attended the Rosenwald School in 1958.
Education for young black children was inconsistent in the early 1900s.
Then two men joined forces to tackle this education gap.
Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, the president of the Sears and Roebuck Company.
They helped build over 5,000 schools across the United States — including more than 800 in North Carolina.
One of those schools — was Rosenwald.
The Randolph sisters — Mattie and Ethel — went to Rosenwald from 1949 to 1960.
One favorite memory for many from Rosenwald was May Day.
There are many good memories, but there are other memories, too.
Rosenwald has been vacant for several years.
The Roanoke River partners now own it.
Director Carol Shields is now looking to revitalize this gem.
Many Rosenwald students became successful farmers, teachers, lawyers, and businessmen.
They want to keep their memories of the school alive — a symbol of perseverance…and the power of education.
The alumni still carry the lessons learned at Rosenwald School.
Through grants and fundraisers, shields work to keep those memories alive.