Minutes – March 19, 2021

MHARS Friends Meeting, Friday, March 19th, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. at the MHARS school building.

Minutes provided by Fatimah’ Rashida Shabazz. This was our first meeting held inside the school in approximately 5 to 6 months. It is all painted beautifully; we have a black board that is up and in place.

PRESENT: Dan Slagle, Omar McClain, Ray Rapp, Dorothy Rapp, Sarah Roland Hart, Richard Dillingham, Andy Reed, Wallace Bohannon & Fatimah’ Shabazz – Assistant Chair Person. We also had two visitors: Jan Caldwell, historian, she is gathering information on the history of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, and Ms. Michelle Anderson, a friend of Wallace and the president of Asheville History Club. Maia Surdam joined us by phone.

Welcome everyone to the first meeting in the school. Five minutes of silence and prayer for the Wyatt family and for Maia’s family.

The MHARS & PAGE project

The meeting began with Maia sharing and updating the Friends on the MHARS & PAGE project. Maia, shared the process of the project, beginning with inviting Jenny Pickens to meet the friends and tour the school. We did a walk through of the school in preparation, and for Ms Pickens to:

*To gather info and insight into the history of the building

*Check and look for possible needs she may have

The Friends can began to gain clarity:

*The vision of the project shared by Ms Pickens

*The vision Alumni & Families and their vision

*What we can provide in support of the project

*What her needs are

*How the Friends can participate

Maia also noted that as the Friends group looks at how to support the project, we also look at how this project gets to be a model. Maia said she will send out an email in the next two weeks to members of the Friends group and include Jenny with optional dates to visit the school. This will be an opportunity for her to meet the Friends and for the Friends to meet her.

Maia shared the following:

*We have support from Madison Middle School Principle, Monica Ponder, who stated that from her perspective, it appears that our program should be able to happen.

*News from the state level legislator, a bill entitled “Summer Learning Choice for NC Families.” A bill was proposed that seeks to provide funding for NC public schools to offer summer school learning opportunities for students who may have fallen behind because of COVID. The Bill still in committee, but seems likely to pass.

The passing of this law is important and timely as it fits right in with our July program. As stated earlier, the program created with MHARS & PAGE is setting the stage and will serve as a model for the state and beyond.

***Initiated by Mr. Richard Dillingham: Everyone introduce themselves with a quick why and how they became involved with MHARS.

Maia also reminded the group of the 2018 event with PAGE & MHARS. The July 2021 program is a jump off from the 2018 event but with extended and inclusive reach outside of Madison county.

Info on Ms Pickens: She is a native African American Artisan of Asheville, NC. Ms Pickens is artistic in various venues: Textile, Paints – Oil & Water, and others. Ms Pickens has ancestral connections to Mars Hill and the school. She is the 3x Great Granddaughter of Manuel Briscoe, and a former student of Sarah Roland Hart. Jenny’s project will be designed to embrace all of the history of the school and the community, possibly in the format of a Quilt, to include pictures, messages, and to tell the stories of The Ridge. Students from PAGE, Young people from Asheville and Buncombe county will join forces to participate with Jenny on the project.

Questions for clarity where asked: What does PAGE mean? Partnership for Appalachian Girls Education. What is OLLI? Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Dan on Facility (Rehab / History / Next Project)

The following items where discussed, however, they do need to be put to a vote. There was NO official motion mentioned, NO votes taken, NOR where there any nay’s given. However, most members seemed to be in agreement with a nod or yes, my method is old school…a hand shake, your word, meant it’s all ok, (lol).

*Dan Brought attention to and noticed the drop off of the darker color of paint ending to the left of the back door.

*1st question: Should the darker color continue onto the back wall of the stage area? Or leave it as it is?

*2nd question: Should the front wall of the stage in the lighter color or painted with the darker color? With nods & feedback, it should remain the same..

*3rd question: Dan shared concern over the little holes in the wood in both rooms. Should we locate and contract someone to come in and do the work to fill in these tiny nail holes or should we as a team do the work? Make sure whom ever is chosen does an excellent job, cares about their work and the school. From chats and nods, hire someone if possible.

Ray & Dorothy Rapp

Ray assured us that the historic plaque was in process, all paid for by an ‘unknown donor.’ The plaque will be placed on the right side of the building (looking at the school from outside).

Items discussed – still unsolved:

*Requirements to complete for the building in preparation to acquire our Certificate of Occupancy

*Opportunity for Alumni to meet with Madison County Board of Education

*School Property line

Mr. Dillingham – History

The following hand outs where shared:

*MHARS’s HISTORY – “OUR STORY, THIS PLACE” – This info is for the book, deadline date to submit documents, bio’s etc. Publication date: Feb. 2022.

*African & Native Americans – Ethnic Heritage at MHU

*Time Line for Education in Madison County Area.

Fatimah mentioned the departure of Mrs. Terry Bellamy from Madison County. Her support for MHARS in locating grants to support our vision has been extremely beneficial.