Monday, July 12, 2010

Dream Comes True: Caswell County Training School 1951

(click on photograph for larger image)

On the second day of March 1951, the faculty and students finally moved into the new Caswell County Training School. Teacher Chattye Boston, who had worked throughout the high school's years in "very limited facilities," remembers, "Each child took what he could carry. And the girls took books, anything they could carry. And we all marched down that road just as proud as peacocks and went into that building. We put those things down and went into the auditorium and had a joyous time. . . . We were so happy to be inside that building that we didn't know what in the world to do. And well they should have been. The new building was the largest school in the county -- indeed, the largest building in the county. The local newspaper recorded the event thus.
Classes are expected to begin in the new building on Monday, March 5. Modern in every respect, the building has 27 classrooms, departments for vocational, agriculture, and home economics, a library, teachers' lounge room, book room, principal's office, music room, band room, and auditorium that will seat 722 people, a cafeteria, and lavatories for boys and girls on each of the three floors. Each room is well lighted and painted in two-tone colors, equipped by clothes hangers, blackboards, and teacher's cabinet. . . .

The building is located on a 15-acre site, 10 of which have been graded for playgrounds. The whole project cost approximately $325,000, with the county paying about $80,000 and the state the remainder. Together with equipment the whole project at today's prices would be a half million dollar investment.

The papers would never tell this side of the story, but the principal and faculty of CCTS would not forget. In the 1948-49 yearbook, their first, they dedicated the volume to "those conscientious public spirited citizens, who through the years have given so much in labor, love and sacrifice to make our school what it is today" and titled one page "Our Loyal Patrons." This page displayed pictures of T. S. Lea, who had helped give the school its first site when he helped purchase the Stephens House; E. C. Jones, who provided the county with its first bus transportation for Negro children; Emma Williamson, who had helped start the PTA and raise money for the Rosenwald school; and Reverend T. L. Cobb, who "in his quiet but effective way [has] seen and been in every movement." The contributions of such advocates would be remembered, and in the new building, their pictures would be hung in the new library on the third floor. The victory belonged to them all.


Photograph and Caption: The Caswell Messenger (Yanceyville, North Carolina) 1 March 1951.

Text: Their Highest Potential: An African American School Community in the Segregated South, Vanessa Siddle Walker (1996) at 61-63.


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