Minutes: Friday, May 9, 2014

Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting
Minutes from Friday, May 9, 2014

The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, May 9, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Attending were: David & Willa Wyatt, Fatimah Shabazz, Dan Slagle, Sandra Tolley, Ryan Phillips, Charity Ray, Dorothy Coone, Oralene Simmons, Richard Dillingham, and Simone Bouyer.

Willa welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked everyone who attended the meeting at Stephens Lee in Asheville. A date is needed for the Stephens Lee meetings to be held every month in Asheville. The committee agreed that the fourth Friday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, works well. Ryan is available to scan materials at these meetings. Thanks to Sarah Hart and Oralene for bringing photos to be scanned.

Board Development: A meeting with Judy Futch is planned for Wednesday, May 14. A review of the organizations details, direction and potential board members will be discussed. Will the organization include an advisory, voting or non-voting membership? The meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Wagon Wheel restaurant in Mars Hill.

Oral Histories: Ryan is editing all of the short oral interviews. Several were done at Stephens Lee. He is working on a 5 minute video to raise funds for the exhibit. Ryan can tape interviews in the mornings before noon. More interviews will be taped at Stephen Lee on May 23.

Sandra can help set-up an interview with Hazel Moore. Edith Stokely has been interviewed. Oralene has a copy of the 1920 Madison County census. It lists the names of students who probably attended the Grapevine school and the Mars Hill colored school. Richard has a copy of the 1930s census. A copy of the 1940s census is needed. Oralene plans to purchase a copy. There are various ways to spell the name Coone. Was originally Khun (German); also Coon, Koone.

Fundraising: Charity visited four local businesses and collected $300! Thank-you! Two other companies may send checks later. Donations were made for the window fund by Brown’s Auto and Zink Power Equipment. David contacted a prospect who could provide substantial funding. Receipts can be sent to all donors. Contributors are listed on the website. The committee currently uses the school systems 501c3 through the Madison County School foundation. A donor board could be displayed at the school in the future. Kay Myers has a grant application from the Friends of Mountain History.

Indiegogo campaigns allow you to set a financial goal. You then have 30 days to reach that goal. Even if you don’t reach your goal you can keep all funds raised. Ryan is about 1 ½ months away from launching an Indiegogo campaign. A second campaign will be initiated to raise funds for the school. About $3,000-4,000 is needed for the exhibit. $150,000 is needed for the school.

Construction: Scott Donald took photos and measurements of the privy. It measured 4×4. Was it a one or two-seater? A local contractor can construct a replica. Scott is working on the plans. Privy had one seat in the middle. Leaves were used for toilet paper. The CC camp may have constructed the original privy.

Exhibition: The main subject of the exhibit at the Rural Life Museum will be the school. A broad history of the community will be included. It will be difficult for our group to come up with historic details about the Asheville community. The story line will include the history of education in Mars Hill land Asheville. The exhibit is the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School & the History of Education in Madison County. A document detailing the suggested story boards was distributed by Fatimah. Topics include: African American Public Education, the Long Ridge Colored Community, The Rosenwald Story, and the Historic Anderson Rosenwald Rehabilitation Project. Suggested photos would show the Joseph Anderson family, the Long Ridge community, the Rosenwald schools, the Mars Hill Rosenwald School, integration, and the rehabilitation project. Suggested sidebars, or related stories include: the land story, John Ferguson donation, the privies, the spring and water, the stove, Viola King Barnett, VIP alumni of the school, planning committee activities, and the NC Land Trust partnership.

The exhibit will open near homecoming or during the Labor day weekend, September 6, 7, or 13. There will be a tent and refreshments. Richard mentioned that AJ Fletcher funded a local film. Would he be interested in funding the exhibit? Dr. Burgess Marshbanks could be approached to fund the exhibit. The planning committee for the exhibit will meet at the Rural Life museum on May 27 at 10 a.m.

The title of the exhibit is Education for a Brighter Future, Our School Our Dreams. Help is needed getting more images. About 50 to 100 are needed. Some images can be found at the MHU library. Architectural images and photos of the privy are also needed. We currently have about 50 images. Pictures of Stephens Lee and the Alan School would be great. Pictures of the county commissioners could also be included. Oralene and Fatimah can help locate images.

Dan has school desks from the Mars Hill school. He will place them in the building. They have a metal frame with wooden seats and backs. The wood is mostly gone. Fatimah has desks. Charity has a desk. They are all from different time periods at the school.

David, Willa and Richard had to leave the meeting early. Can Simone send out notices about the meeting earlier? Yes. A notice should also be sent about the Stephens Lee meetings. Can the meetings be listed in the Mountain Xpress and the Urban News? Can members of our committee attend the Stephens Lee Alumni meetings, held the second Saturday of each month? At our next meeting we should be prepared to answer the question “Why support this project?”

Community Relations: Fatimah reported that the turnout for the Stephens Lee meeting was great. Additional members of the Ray family did visit later. They are the children of Pauline and Roy Ray who were in town. Also Essie and Loretta Ray. Oralene can get in touch with them. Fatimah can contact Kelly Navies, who was scheduled to present “Giving Voice to Our Stories: An Oral History Journey,” and Lori Penny.

Sandra plans to continue to work with our group after her position with the school board ends in July. The NC African American Heritage Commission has an online calendar. A conference on the Rosenwald Schools will take place in June. A preservation conference will take place in November in Savannah. Oralene attended this conference in the past. There are other Rosenwald buildings in Asheville. They may have been homes for teachers.

It is time to clean up the grounds around the school. Dan can do weed eating. Can Willa contact Madison County schools to ask about maintenance? A date needs to be set to a gardening/work day. Charity talks about the rehabilitation project everywhere she goes. She has also contacted Capps Funeral Home. It’s good to let donors know that there are other donors, and that this is a community project.

Simone will update the illustrated history of the school to include more photos and information about Booker T. Washington and Joseph Anderson. A Juneteenth celebration will be held at the Vance birthplace on Thursday, June 12 from 11-7 p.m. A display on the Rosenwald School project can be placed there for the day. Simone can set-up the display board and brochures. The contact at the Vance birthplace is Tammy. Display needs to be set-up by 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 12.

The meeting adjourned at 11:35 a.m. The next meeting of the Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School will be held Friday, June 13, at 10 a.m at Mt. Olive Church in Mars Hill.

Respectfully submitted,
Simone Bouyer