Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee Meeting
Minutes from Friday, October 10, 2014
The Anderson Rosenwald Project Planning Committee met on Friday, October 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in the basement fellowship hall of Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
Attending were: David Wyatt, Charity Ray, Dorothy Coone, Dan Slagle, Richard Dillingham, Pauline & Edwin Cheek, Ray & Dorothy Rapp, Sandra Tolley, Ryan Phillips, Fatimah Shabazz, Omar McClain, Sue Ann Foster and Simone Bouyer.
David welcomed everyone to the meeting. An Agenda and notes from Willa Wyatt, who could not attend, were distributed and reviewed.
Sue Ann Foster has donated 500 buttons and magnets to our group for use in fundraising. She gave a brief demonstration on how to use the button making machine she has loaned to our group. Buttons can be offered as perks for donations. Suggested price is $3. Simone put together several sample designs, showing the old school, the school in 1930s, Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, and a group image of students at the school. Suggestion from the group was to make Our Story, This Place buttons. Sue Ann thinks the National Teacher’s conference would be a great opportunity to promote our project and to sell buttons. Perhaps a booth could be donated for our group.
Willa’s Report: There was lots of interest and pledged support to our project from the booth at the Heritage Festival. Willa thanks David, Simone, and Fatimah for helping at the festival. Although it was a cold day, attendance was good. More than 400 people toured the museum exhibit during the festival. Copies of the notated history were distributed. Don Locke promised to send a check. There were many new faces and promises of stories.
Willa drafted a proposal for the National Rosenwald Conference, to be held in Durham in June 2015. A poster presentation will include pictures of the Rosenwald School Exhibit on display at the Rural Heritage Museum. Supporting text includes the importance of the exhibit as an opportunity for both the community and MHU students to learn about the school. A video will accompany the presentation as well as copies of the notated history. A similar proposal is being considered for the Appalachian Studies Conference to be held at ETSU in March 2015. The committee needs to approve. Those present approved both proposals.
Willa also thanks Sandra Tolley and Karen Kiehna for working on the the BRNHA Grant, and for attending the Resourceful Communities webinar. Letters of support for the grant came from Darhyl Boone, Allen Lamberson, Dr. Dan Lunsford, and Dr. Ron Wilcox.
Thanks to Richard Dillingham for his work on the notated history. David & Elsberry Wyatt donated German siding for use in repairing the school. She asks that we continue to identify alumni to be interviewed. She is also working with MHU on transcriptions for the oral interviews.
Fundraising: David has made one contact that could contribute half of the amount needed for repairs to the school! He will also ask two banks and other individuals in Asheville. David met a woman who attended Stephens Lee, Annette Coleman, who is interested in our project. She is married to Wayne Coleman; her maiden name is Penland. She has contacts in Mars Hill and works for a bank.
Pat Griffin and Sarah Hart are working with Fatimah in talking to Stephens Lee alumni. They are interested in funding a window. Several bands are available, West Sound, Free Flow and other talented individuals, who could perform at a fundraiser for our project. Oralene contacted West Sound about a February performance. They are a gospel group. MHU founders day will be held October 14. The theme is African & Native American Heritage. Pat Griffin will be honored at the event. Many have read articles and seen press about the school. Dorothy Coone was interviewed for Bold Life magazine. Both Dorothy and Charity were photographed. You can find copies of Bold Life in Henderson and Buncombe counties.
David & Willa found paint stirrers to use as handles for the hand fans. They cut them down to fit the fans.
Construction: David has contributed siding from his parents old home. It is the exact siding used on the school. There is enough of it to replace and finish the exterior. The siding would be a special order if we had to purchase it.
Programming: Dorothy Rapp reported that the programming committee will meet on Monday at 9:30 a.m. to finalize plans for the October 16 lecture. Oralene Simmons, former Rosenwald School student, great-great-grand daughter of the slave named Joseph Anderson, and the first African American admitted to Mars Hill College, and Susi Anderson, great-great-grand daughter of the slave-master of Joseph Anderson will speak. Richard has 500 brochures for the presentation, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. at Broyhill Chapel on the campus of MHU.
On Thursday, November, 13 there will be a panel presentation, Personal Recollections of the Rosenwald School. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Redway dining hall at MHU. The panel will be moderated by Kevin Barnette and will include Anderson Rosenwald school alumni: Oralene Simmons, Charity Ray, Dorothy Coone, Omar McClain, Fatimah Shabazz, and Sarah Hart. Need to contact Eugene Jones. It will be a card swipe event for student credit. Brief bios are needed for the introduction. Les should have these. Subjects are needed for the discussion, about eight topics. Students and community members will be attending.
Grants: Sandra submitted an application for the Blue Ridge National Grant for $16k with a match to total $44k. Karen Kiena helped; she had copies of last year’s application. Letters of support from Dr. Wilcox and others were included. The siding could count as an in-kind contribution of $12k. Laura Boosinger is on the Blue Ridge National Grants committee. This would be the first African American project funded by the grant. Willa and Karen pulled everything together. There is also a resourceful communities grant. $8-10k is available. Madison is a tier 2 county, which is not as good for funding. A good case is needed. The webinar was presented at Town Hall. Pre applications are due by November 4. By December 4 those approved will be invited to apply. The final application is due February 12. Notifications will be sent by April 2015. If awarded, this could also count as part of the match for the Blue Ridge Grant.
The committee is also looking at grants from the National Historic Trust. These are small grants for programming, not bricks and mortar. The Community Foundation also has grants, generally for food and heating. A lunch is planned with Becky Anderson so that she knows about our project. Ray proposes we meet with her.
David had an advisory meeting at the Credit Union. They have a foundation board that gives up to 12 million yearly. They gave Mission Hospitals five million for the new cancer center. Our group is encouraged to look up the The State Employees Credit Union Foundation website and apply. Let him know if we apply. Duke University is looking to fund an early childhood center.
Richard reports that the owners of the Taylor Ranch have donated many gifts to MHU. They may be interested in funding something through the university. Thanks to Ryan for the panels created for the exhibition. Many are going back to view the exhibit a second time to read the panels. Ryan is applying to ETSU for a Masters in history and education.
History: Dan asks if anyone knows John T. Ray, who lives in Weaverville. Alumni present know him as J.T. He drove the school bus for black students from Hot Springs to Marshall. He is approximately 76 years old. Dan would like to schedule an interview with him. Pauline thinks she interviewed him in the past and will look for the tapes.
Dan spent time looking closely at the school. He noticed differences in paint color, leading him to believe that there was another door and wall which held a cloak room. There are two boards in the corner with holes for coat hooks. The industrial room had two doors that led out, one on each side of the chimney. So when the space was partitioned into two classes, access was available to either space. The foundation for the original addition is still there. The electric meter was added later, as there was no electricity when the school was built. French Broad EMC may have records from when it was installed. The meter is high up on the wall.
He looked at the old photo we have of the school and noticed that it shows a hand drawn addition on the side of the school, which is just visible behind the foundation supports. This addition is not shown of the photo from the state archives. Four years of the school minutes are missing. Nine schools were built, and it appears some facts are missing regarding the use of funds for the Rosenwald School. The photo from the NC State Archives shows a person in front of the school. Who is it? Before we tear anything more out of the school we should take time to look at the physical evidence in the school. Photos are needed. Richard moves that Dan write to Scott with the new evidence. With a second from Omar all present approved.
Media: Simone reports that one of the pages that gets the most hits on the website is the Interviews page. It would be great to really fill out that section with more interviews and information. We received our first online interview from Thomas Henderson Briscoe. Ryan has interviews on video that he can add to Youtube. Simone can add them to the website from Youtube.
Alumni: Fatimah asks how can we create a time for Stephens Lee Alumni to take a tour of the school and the exhibit at one time. Even five people. They will talk to others about the exhibit afterwards. There are many alumni in Asheville who have not seen the exhibit. How can we create fun fundraising events? Fatimah thanks everyone who helped make the booth at the Heritage Festival so appealing. Lots of people stopped at the booth after viewing the exhibit. The history of the school is very moving. Thank you Charity and Dorothy! We are grateful you are here with us and sharing your wisdom.
Meetings: The best day for Kevin Barnette to attend is at noon on Fridays. We need to make a plan at the December 12 meeting.
Other News: Les mentioned putting together a binder for the exhibit. It would contain additional photos, comments and other information about the school.
MHU homecoming takes place this Saturday. Charity will have an exhibit on the Quad. A BBQ will take place on the Quad before the ball game. Charity has 2015 calendars for sale.
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 p.m. Dorothy Rapp stayed to meet with the alumni to discuss plans for the November 13 panel discussion and to come up with topics. Ideas included commuting and travel, daily routines, favorite school subjects, time period attended, condition of the school, where they lived, sanitation, and lunch.
The Friends of the Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School will meet Friday, November 14, at 10 a.m. at Mt. Olive Church in Mars Hill, and Friday, November 28 at 3 p.m. at Stephens Lee in Asheville.