Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting
Minutes from Friday, March 14, 2014
The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, March 14, 2014, in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
Attending were: David Wyatt, Ryan Phillips, Joy Kisch, Charity Ray, Oralene Simmons, Richard Dillingham, and Simone Bouyer.
David welcomed everyone who attended. Willa was not feeling well and was unable to attend. She sent a page of notes to share with the group, recapped here in brief: Fatimah was unable to attend due to illness. Condolences to Scott Donald on the passing of his mother. Thanks to Simone for moving the display from the Mars Hill library to the Marshall library. The Marshall Senior citizens will visit the school Thursday, March 27 at noon. Contributions received: $100 from Joe and Janice Brummit, the owners of Arby’s; $100 from John Hough. Dean Hicks in Yancey County is researching our Yancey County question. No response from Zan Robinson at the Yancey County Board of Education. Should our group contact the new Buncombe County African American Heritage Commission? Both David and Willa will be unable to attend our April 11 meeting. A facilitator is needed.
The minutes for February 2014 included the following notes from Willa: Les Reker from the MHU Rural Life Museum met with the group. The Rosenwald School exhibit should tell the story of the school with object. The exhibit will be on display for six months. The history of the school needs to be accurate. It should include information about booker T. Washington. A team was formed to work with Les on the exhibit: Sandra Tolley, Fatimah Shabazz, Omar McClain, Richard Dillingham, Dan Slagle, and Ryan Phillips. Madison County Schools can provide a flat screen TV. Fatimah has a chalkboard from the school. Can the piano be included in the exhibit? Rosenwald School alumni are requested to write a family history to be included as part of the history of the school. Jerry Plemmons will interview Edith Hampton; Ryan will videotape it. Taylor Barnhill interviewed Manuel Briscoe in 1985 and can contribute to the history of the school. Fatimah shared that Uncle Walt’s family from Knoxville can be interviewed in June. Sarah Hart Weston will help coordinate a meeting in March in Asheville at Stephens-Lee Alumni Center. The tentative date for the meeting is Friday, March 21. Directions and more details to come.
History Committee: The Appalachian Room at Mars Hill University houses a senior research project completed by Charlene Ray on the history of blacks in Madison County. Peggy Harmon is the supervisor. There should be five or six albums in the collection containing photos and other research. The history of Yancey county schools can also be found in the library. Richard is working with Charity and Dorothy to identify the black families listed in the 1930 census. Photos are needed. We have an overall history of the Rosenwald Schools. We need to write the history of our school from 1930 to 1965. The timeline should include the names of teachers, school board, and students. The committee needs access to the video interviews. A volunteer is needed to compile this information. Polly Cheek’s son completed a history project on the school. Charity has a copy. The history of our school needs to be completed by the fall. An outline is needed. Details can be filled in if we have a brief overview. Taylor Barnhill identified 74 schools in the history of our area. Harvey Haynes, retired president of A-B Tech has the history of students at the Carson School.
Oralene has photo of the Alan School for girls. Colored children from Yancey and Barnardsville were bused to Asheville. The school was built in Buncombe county for colored students. The family originated from Anderson Cove. A book was published about the family. Joe Anderson taught at the black school in Grapevine. SW Anderson, the son of Lewis, taught at the school for years. The black slave cemetery is located on Bee Tree, near Grapevine in east Fork. There is also a black cemetery in Sandy Mush. Was there a school there?
Community Relations: An article on the display at the Mars Hill library was included in the March 12 issue of the News-Record & Sentinel. A copy of the 13th amendment is on display at the Vance birthplace as part of NC’s year-long celebration of African American Heritage. Chris Morton is the contact. They are working with the Gateway museum. Oralene can arrange for our group to have a display table.
Fundraising:. David plans to speak with the Brummits about additional funding for the school. Karen Kenea is interested in helping with grant writing. Andy Reed is also experienced in grant writing. Donations to the school are sent to the Board of Education. How can we thank these contributors? Willa can send thank-you notes.
Exhibit: Oralene contributed a book, “Schools of Hope” by Norman Finkelstein, for use in the exhibit. The book includes photos and the history of the Rosenwald Schools. The book jacket includes a statement saying marketing materials are available. Oralene will look into it. She also has photos of Manuel Briscoe. At the end of the exhibit at the Rural Life Museum some materials could go on display at the libraries. A meeting of the display advisory committee takes place March 25 from 10 to 12 noon at Montague on the campus of MHU. Les is thrilled about our plans for the exhibit. This will be a great resource and opportunity. We are excited about our developing partnership with MHU.
Interviews: Edith Hampton, who worked with the EMC for years, will be interviewed. Charles Tolley and Jerry Plemmons arranged the hour long interview. We are attempting to contact Hazel in Hot Springs for an interview. David knows Hazel. All interviews will be trimmed for use in a video display. Ryan will create a continuous loop of eight or nine interviews.
Other Notes: Judy Futch can meet with us; this will be a follow-up to our strategic plan. Not much progress has been made on construction. Windows are still needed. The cost for ten windows is $8,000. Can local groups each sponsor a window? Scott has the specifications and can direct the installation. Richard moves that our group contribute $50 to Mt. Olive Church. The church has provided us with the space, heat and electricity for our meetings. The donation can be sent to Herbert Barnette, the treasurer for the church. With a second from Simone, all approved a $50 donation.
David thanked everyone for attending. The meeting adjourned at 10:25 a.m. The next meeting of the Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School was planned for Friday, April 11, at 10 a.m at Stephens-Lee Alumni Center in Asheville.