In this weeks "Black History Report," we take an inside look at the schools that dotted many Eastern Carolina roadways...The Rosenwald schools of the early 1900's.
Annie Randolph attended The Hamilton Colored School in Martin County. "A lot of focus has been on slavery time and all that but thank God he brought us through and there was someone looking out for us"
For Randolph and many of her black peers in the south in the early 1900's that someone was a teacher at one of the more than 800 Rosenwald schools across our state. A teacher, who according to Mattie, Annie's older sister, had the skills to properly guide their captive yet eager audience. Mattie says, "We all wanted to learn and they all gave us an enthusiasm for learning. We did "see spot run," and multiplication tables...but it worked back then"
And back then the rules for discipline were a little different as well. According to Mary Randolph, the principals could paddle the students who were unruly, and some where made to stand in a corner on one leg as a means of punishment. Randolph says, "I remember in the fourth grade I used to write on the board, "I must control my tongue."
But despite the countless chalkboard sessions, Mary still has fond memories of those leaders of the Hamilton Colored School. "We looked up to them and we respected them, they guided us and we believed they cared about us"
The same care that Ethel Blanks passes along in her message to students today...to enjoy the often overlooked joys of childhood. Blanks says, "We enjoyed our childhood cause we would come to school, it was a time for play, for getting together with other children, we would walk to school and enjoy other children in the neighborhood and in the afternoon, we would wait for one another and go back home."
Coming up next week, a look at the renovation project going on in Martin County and how our state and many others are taking a renewed interest in the old Rosenwald buildings.