Minutes – August 23, 2013

Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting

August 23, 2013


The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee held a special meeting on August 23, 2013, in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Attending were: David and Willa Wyatt, Fatimah Shabazz, Omar McClain, Oralene Simmons, Ryan Phillips, Theresa Phillips, Richard Dillingham, Dan Slagle, Charity Ray, Ray and Dorothy Rapp, Edwin & Polly Cheek, and Simone Bouyer.

Willa opened the meeting at approximately 10:12 a.m. The minutes for August 9 were emailed to the committee. Ray Rapp thanked the Wyatts for hosting nine students on a tour of the county. They shared the history of the area, including some history of the school, with the students. Our story in this place is a progressive one. Integration was commonplace in this community.

In preparation for the community event: The event will take place on Sunday, September 1. People are needed to sit at the school from 1-3pm, and from 4-6pm. The school will be open for tours all day long.

Doors are needed to fit 36” doorway. Installation of a ramp at the sidedoor. Richard and Dan have located doors from the 1924 Mars Hill College president’s home. They are 5-panel doors. Also available are the front doors from Owen Theatre (1918). 32” wide exterior doors painted black. This week we will have two white doors with hinges. Some of the doors available have glass doorknobs. Can use for interior of school. The president’s house will be torn down. Scott will look at the house for other resources. The house is not being renovated.

The building needs to be swept. Boards need to be taken off of windows. The ramp will be installed by Madison county school maintenance crew! The tent can be placed on the grass on the side. Members are asked to lead conversations. Name tags would be great. Ryan will videotape. Members are encouraged to attend services at Mt. Olive Church at 11am and at 3pm. Fatimah offered to bring water and ice. Simone and Willa will work on signs directing people to the school.

It is estimated that 100 school children could be seated in the school. At least 75 chairs are needed. To accommodate 100 or more we would need to add fire escapes and other items according to building codes. Two exits currently exist. There is no exit in the kitchen.

On Saturday, September 21 Operation In As Much will take place. Community members are asked to help with various projects, or to create a project. The college can help us set-up. All dignitaries should be invited. Parks and Recreation can provide games and activities. Hot dogs and lemonade could be served. A presentation will be made. Will this event be held every year? Plan for the day to begin at 8am. Breakfast at 7 am. Ends around 2 pm. The day could include some construction and work projects at 8am. A tent is available from the funeral home; contact Bob Zink. David and Willa have folding tables. Members are encouraged to attend.

History Committee: The committee has not met in a while. Richard reported that in 1930 there were 83 school aged black children in Madison county. The committee will study the 1940’s census next. They have contacted the secretary of the Yancey County board of education and are waiting to hear back from them. Did students from Yancey County attend the school in the 50s? Details could be in the school board minutes. Madison County’s secretary is looking for references to Yancey County in their books. They will email Willa.

Richard is working on a write-up of the history to be presented at the event. He will have a final copy ready by Friday. It will include the history of the name of the school. The school is listed by the National Historic Trust as the Mars Hill Rosenwald School. From 1901-1912 there ware teachers at the school from the Anderson family. In 1962-63 the school name was changed to the Mars Hill Anderson School.

How can we study the archives held in Raleigh? Can the books be loaned to our area? The state archives hold the Rosenwald School records for NC. Letters may be included in the archives.

Media: Simone created a brochure with general information about the project, including Scotts cost estimates for each pahse of the project. Potential donors can selct a project to help fund. She also created a half page flyer for the event. On the back are some of the survey questions for people who attended the school. That way interviews can be recorded, or people can mail the sheet back to Simone.

Names for the school: in the 50s the school was known as the Long Ridge school. In the 60s it was called the Anderson School. The current committee is using the name Friends of the Mars Hill Rosenwald School. The project is called the Historic Mars Hill Rosenwald School Rehabilitation Project. The terms “conversations” or “stories” can be used instead of “interviews,” to put people at ease.

WCU media center has print capabilities. Paw Prints can also print materials for the committee. Scott has offered to print 200 brochures at no cost.

All videotaped interviews will be transcribed by college students who have volunteered to help with the project. Spreadsheets will be created detailing the history and population of the area. Students can also help paint, create a walking trail, and label trees. Tying this place to the land creates a natural history project. There is clay at the site where the spring was located. Students of the school made clay toys and animals.

A copy of the photo of Henry Ford visiting Asheville could be used for the school scrapbook. Should be housed in the Pack Memorial Library, or at the Grove Park Inn. Oralene offered to contact. There may have been an article in the Sentinel. The group toured Marshall and Mars Hill. Would make a great story for a driving tour CD. Ford donated funds to the school.

Fundraising: $1,000 was contributed from the Helen Reed Memorial fund, which in interested in equality and education. Andrew Reed plans to attend the September 1 event. He is also a grant writer. $150 was contributed by Padgett Freeman. Should the committee join the Historic Trust for $250 as a non-profit? By joining we can apply for grants offered by the Trust. With a motion from Richard and a second from Omar all present voted in favor of joining the Historic Trust.

Lowes no longer funds Rosenwald School projects. However, if we can get materials we can find volunteers to do some of the construction. Could Lowes fund materials? David offered to contact. Willa will apply for a grant offered by Wells Fargo. Handmade in America also has funding available. There is a history group in Asheville that is interested in the project.

Certificates of appreciation are needed for the Helen Reed fund and others who have contributed to the project.

Community Relations: The Welcome Center on I-26 would like to display a Rosenwald School banner. A display could be created. Simone will work with Willa and Anna at WCU, who created the Christenburg display. The Rural Life Musuem could display an exhibit about the school. Contact the Director Les Reker. The Museum will open September 27 with an exhibit on the homespun industries.

Students have written about the Rosenwald Schools for their history day project. Will Hoffman could be contacted for details or copies of the reports.

We need to meet in Asheville perhaps quarterly. Alecia at the college could help organize. Oralene offered to contact her. Meetings for alumni of Stephens-Lee are held the 2nd Saturday of each month. The committee could meet at Stephens-Lee. Sarah Hart from Mars Hill is the alumni president. Does the Allan School hold alumni events? We need to reach out to Asheville and Buncombe county. UNCA? YMI? We need to let more people know about this project.

Board Development: To apply for 501c3 status we need names for the board. The chair is asked to appoint members. Willa asks: Richard, David, Ray, Oralene, Sandra Tolley, and Simone as secretary. The board needs to be politically and culturally balanced. College representative? Church representative? The board would define community partnerships. The board’s vision could attract funds. Future planning is needed to acquire land for parking, and a residence for a docent. There is a house for sale on Long Ridge Road.

The Madison county school board covers insurance. They are still searching for their articles of incorporation. The board can create articles of incorporation based on guidelines. Annie McDonald is interested in helping. Friends of Mountain History have offered to help find funding for the project. The theme for 2014-15 is African American history.

A packet for potential funders is needed. Folder would include photos, history, brochure, project phases and estimated costs.

The meeting adjourned at 12:30pm. The next meeting of the Rosenwald Project Planning Committee was planned for Friday, September 13, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Olive Church.

Respectfully submitted,
Simone Bouyer