The history of the first black school in Pitt County rounds out our Black History reports for the month.
Known as G.R. Whitfield today, back in 1916 when the first classes started, it was the Pitt County Training School.
Iva Ray Hawkins is a former student. She says, "We had dormitories for the students that could not afford to attend school every day because of the traveling and distance"
The dormitories were necessary because the school serviced students from all over the county.
At that time education was important, but whether or not the kids went to school was determined more by weather than an official schedule. Hawkins says, "When the weather was bad, the students could only come to school, but during the harvesting season when the weather was good, students had to stay out of school to maintain the crops for the survival of the families"
After harvesting the crops each year, the students had to each bring two bunches of tobacco to donate to the school. Hawkins says that was so they could buy their own gym equipment.
G.R. Whitfield will celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 2016 and organizers are already putting things in place to make the event extra special.