Effort to save old school underway - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Effort to save old school underway

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A piece of Charlotte's history is withering on the vine. An old school house from the days of segregation served to help educate black students here in Charlotte.

The aging reminder sits along a Northern Mecklenburg County's back road near Mallard Creek.

It is tucked between sprawling woods and dozens of condos. The small place of learning was known as the Siloam School House. It was one of many Rosenwald Schools.

Robby Lankford is a Levine Scholar at UNC Charlotte, and this summer's course of study means finding new life for a structure nearly 100 years old.

He said, "It's really cool to see where it all came from. Where it all began."

They were the brain child of Julius Rosewald who headed Sears and Roebuck.

When Rosenwald earmarked money for construction these African American places of learning before school integration, it wasn't a one way street.

Joe DeLaine of Charlotte said that communities were committed. "A group of people would get together and either some African Americans donated the land or the church donated the land."

During the 20th Century, More than five thousand Rosenwald Schools were built a across the country, and North Carolina had more than any other state in the nation.

The number in our state topped 800, and there was a strong local connection.

Dr. George Davis who was Johnson C. Smith University's first African American Professor became a strong advocate.

Dr. Dan Morrill of the Historic Landmarks Commission described Davis as a visionary. "He was the man who went down the road met with school boards, met with local communities to raise the awareness. To raise the money," Morrill said.

And it appears that a new awareness is underway to preserve the past as a tool of providing present day learning. Dr. Morrill would like to see it moved to UNC Charlotte.

Negotiations are underway with the present owner and the Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.

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