Minutes – February 2012

Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting

February 10, 2012

Peterson Conference Room, Mars Hill College

 The Rosenwald Project Planning Committee held its meeting of February 10, 2012 in the Peterson Conference Room of Mars Hill College.

Attending were:  Charlotte Cain, Don Slagle, Scott Donald, David and Willa Wyatt, Steve Garrison, Mark Norwood, Beth Ross, and Teresa Buckner.

Willa Wyatt, committee chair, opened the meeting at approximately 10 am.

Members of the group introduced themselves to new members:  Dan Slagle and Charlotte Cain.  Charlotte, who attended as a representative of the Black Student Association, said she is particularly interested in involving the BSA with this project.

Scott Donald reported that work at the site has exposed two footings that are usable.  This is good news and will save money since they will not have to be replaced.

Willa reported on an issue that came up on the day of the MLK Day of Service.  Someone in the community had had a tree removed, and rather than haul off the debris, the man who removed the tree simply dumped piles of wood scraps beside the school.  As a result, students spent most of MLK day loading and hauling off two dump truck loads of wood scraps.  There is still more debris still at the site, Willa said.

This situation demonstrates the need for signage at the school, Willa said. Because the school has been abandoned for so long, signage may be necessary to remind the public that the property is owned by the school system and is under renovation, Willa said.  She will pursue this idea with the School Board.

There was a discussion about the plan to have Carol Shields present at the next meeting, which was planned for March 8.  Carol is a member of a committee that has helped obtain funding for the rehabilitation of the Hamilton Rosenwald School in eastern North Carolina. Steve Garrison said he would get in touch with Carol and make sure she is planning to come on March 8.  Willa has already made arrangements for her to stay in the guest cottage at Mars Hill College on the night of March 7.

There was a lengthy discussion about what has been done – and what can be done in the future – to get community members and alumni involved in the Anderson Rosenwald Rehabilitation project. Many of those initiatives depend on first determining a reliable historic timeline.

Dan is very interested in working on this.  He will contact Richard Dillingham to see what has been done thus far and how he can help.

Dan has already done some work on his own, and shared some of his findings.  He found records at Fisk University of funding for a black school in Madison County during the 1928-29 school year. According to that record, $1143 came from public funding; $750 came from the Rosenwald fund; and $200 came from black parents in the community.

Dan found a deed indicating that the school board had purchased one acre of land in the Long Ridge community in 1905 and land for a road in 1907.  Since the Rosenwald fund required a two-acre plot of land for the school, it was likely necessary for the school board to purchase more land later.

Dan has found no indication that the community ever called the school the “Rosenwald” School.  Rather, it was referred to locally as the Anderson School or the Long Ridge School. He also found evidence of Henry Ford’s visit to the Grove Park Inn in August of 1918.  This probably coincides with the story about Ford’s contribution to the “Ford Room,” on the original Anderson School.

The next meeting of the Rosenwald Project Planning Committee was planned for Thursday, March 8, at 9 am at Mars Hill College.

Respectfully submitted,

Teresa Buckner