Minutes – August 9, 2013

Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting

August 9, 2013


The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee held its meeting of August 9, 2013, in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church..

Attending were: David and Willa Wyatt, Ryan Phillips, Teresa Phillips, Richard Dillingham, Charity Ray, Ray and Dorothy Rapp, Caroline Twiggs, Scott McDonald, Sandra Tolley, and Simone Bouyer.

Willa opened the meeting at approximately 10:10 a.m. The minutes for July were corrected as follows: Mars Hill College has records from 1886-1960s from the NC superintendent of education’s bi-annual report. With a motion from Ray all present approved the minutes for July 2013.

History Committee: Richard reported that the committee has not met. They will be using the 1940 census to identify black families with school aged children in the Long Ridge community. Dan Slagle is working on the 1936 census. In 1930 the News Record reported that Madison County had the ninth smallest black community in the state with 83 children enrolled in school. Richard distributed a sheet “1930 Black School Enrollment in NC.” Dr. Moore was superintendent of Madison County schools from 1900-1912. Richard distributed a two-page report, based on Dr. Moore’s records, detailing expenses for the colored schools in Madison County from 1904-1912. The interview scheduled for July with David Briscoe fell through. Can we encourage him to come? Richard shared his introduction to the Os Deaver diary which will be published this month. The diary includes details about the Forks of Ivy and Long Ridge communities from 1885-1896.

Willa and Caroline attended a fundraising workshop. Willa distributed a “Thoughts on Fundraising” sheet and asked the committee for ideas on resources, goals, and special events. A list is needed of potential friends of the school. How do other groups handle the collection of information? All committee member’s information should also be kept on file or in a notebook. Additional information is needed from all of the people who have been interviewed.

Media: Simone is working on the brochure for the Mars Hill Rosenwald School. The brochure includes photos of the school, a brief history of the Rosenwald Schools, along with details about the Mars Hill school, and estimated costs for the restoration of the school. A list of several of the contributors was also included. Additional names are needed. Ryan shared the photos he took of the clean-up day. Scott provided a CD containing the architectural plans. Scott can print 500 brochures.

Forrest Gilliam has not been able to provide the committee with a copy of the block grant. Funding for many of the CBG grants has been pulled. There will not be any grants provided for infrastructure. It’s time to look elsewhere for funding. David has a list of people he would like to present the project to. He is confident that we can raise the funds needed for the restoration of the school. He will be inviting people to stop by the school to see the progress made so far. Thanks to Justine and his backhoe, the rear part of the building that was falling down has been removed. The site is very clean now. If we get funds for materials contractors could be found to donate time. All construction must meet Scott’s recommendations for historic preservation. Had the grant come through we would need to bid out all work. On our own we can use all help.

Construction: Two doors are needed for the homecoming event. Dr. Wilcox may have some leads. The doors need to have 5 panels to meet historic restoration. An ad can be placed on Craig’s list. A ramp is needed for the side door. Doors may be temporarily installed, or permanently installed depending on the condition. Simone offered to post on Craig’s list. Scott provided the specifications: 1 3/4″ solid core, 5-raised panel wood door. 6’8″ tall x 3′ wide. Similar doors can be seen at Mars Hill University and other area schools. Pat Franklin may have information. Windows could be reclaimed from other old schools. Cost to have them custom built is $700 each.

Scott estimates that the Mars Hill Rosenwald school could hold 85 seats; 60 people at rectangular banquet tables; 40 seated at round tables. Parking is needed for approximately 25 cars. Keep attendance below 100. If over 100, there are additional safety regulations such as lighted exit signs. There is space below the rear addition which could be used for storage. A concrete floor would be needed for that space.

Community Relations: The Mount Olive Church Homecoming weekend will take place August 30 and September 1. The committee is planning to hold another meeting on August 23 to plan for the event. There will be no meeting held in September. Is fundraising appropriate for the event? This will be our first event working with the community. We do not want to overshadow or interfere with the homecoming event. Notices can be sent to area churches in Asheville, Burnsville, and Mars Hill. A set time is needed for the presentation.

Mayor Bellamy, Gene Ellison, Robby Russell, Bill Ricker should be invited. The church will hold two services, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Committee members are encouraged to attend and mingle. A potluck dinner will take place after the afternoon service. The school presentation could take place from 12 noon until 3pm. Church service will be from 4 to 6pm. There will be no games, no fundraising, and no portajohns. It is important to gather information from all who attend. Can we hold interviews on Saturday? An agenda for the day is needed. Signs need to be posted near the church, the school and in Mars Hill. Can Scott help with printing?

The history of the school should be made available for additions and contributions. Richard can distribute handouts. Promotional materials need to include the stages of the project: Restoration; establishment of a community center; an endowment to provide for the ongoing management of the site. Plaques commemorating students, teachers, and contributors need to be included at the site. A schedule is needed for work and update sessions.

We need to let people know that this is the only Rosenwald school left standing in our area. The school in Brevard is based on the Rosenwald plan, although it is not a Rosenwald school. The department of cultural resources is working on creating a network of the Rosenwald Schools. Annie McDonald is contacting the schools located in 25 counties.

Presentations could be made to the Rotary Club, the Economic Development committee, the NC Historical Society, and Mars Hill University faculty. Wolf Laurel may be interested in hosting a golf tournament/fundraiser for the project. Other groups we could approach include the county commissioners, the town of Mars Hill, Madison County school, the Tourism Authority, and area churches. Can we work with UNCA? Formal partnerships need to be formed. We can ask for allotments from our partners. Can we join the Madison County Chamber of Commerce? The committee votes yes. A banner could be made and displayed at the Welcome Center on I-26.

Mars Hill College will become a University in August. Richard has a timeline of historic Mars Hill College events; some have links to the black community. The campus was integrated in the 1930s. Native American’s were accepted in the 1920s. The Day of Caring takes place September 5 & 7. Can the committee plan for a work day and a presentation on the school and race relations? The Lunsford festival takes place Saturday October 5. Can we have a booth? There is no fee for booths on the college campus. The committee votes yes. We could provide information on the school history and the Long Ridge community. Committee members are asked to help for no more than two hours at the Lunsford festival.


Mowing and weed eating will be needed. A ramp used at the central school office could be reused at the site. A five minute video could be used for presentations. Oralene Simmons is interested in participating with us. The committee should plan a meeting to take place in Asheville. Stephens-Lee school will be holding their homecoming event in the fall. Also Alan school. These school have ties to the Long Ridge School. Can we ask Fatimah to help contact these schools?

Board Development: The school board attorney can help with our 501c3 status. Can we use part of the school’s articles of incorporation? Grant applications require details from the 501c3. The school board is searching for a copy, which might be on file with the county register of deeds. We are currently operating under the Madison County School Foundation’s status. Board development is needed.

The meeting adjourned at 12:15pm. The next meeting of the Rosenwald Project Planning Committee was planned for Friday, August 23, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Olive Church.

Respectfully submitted,
Simone Bouyer