Black History Report Former Students Remember Hamilton Colored School

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.


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  • by Carolina Carol Location: Eastern NC on Mar 10, 2012 at 07:08 AM
    For those interested in more information about our Hamilton Rosenwald Preservation project, go to http://www.roanokeriverpartners.org/Rosenwald.htm
  • by Carolina Carol Location: Eastern NC on Feb 18, 2012 at 06:57 PM
    Thanks for your coverage of this little known American education story. The wave of Rosenwald Schools that were built from Texas to Maryland in the early 1900s were transforming for early black education. Today, these preserved sites are being utilized to bring economic development to a number of our rural communities. Those of us working to preserve these historical schools, which have been earmarked as National Treasures, are grateful for the regional awareness that you are giving our efforts.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 18, 2012 at 11:39 AM
    WITN will allow comments which ridicule christians and their beliefs... however if someone has conservative views... those are met with a great deal of censorship. Truth is, objective journalism is a joke at WITN
  • by Seriously Location: NC on Feb 17, 2012 at 05:59 AM
    Witn you are either racist or scared to post my comments on this story. My first ammendment is seriously being violated, these comments were not racist but merely innocent questions.
  • by William Randolph Location: Brooklyn,N.Y on Feb 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM
    Thank You.Keep the good work up.
  • by Seriously Location: NC on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM
    WITN IS NOT DOING A FAIR JOB IN POSTING COMMENTS TO THIS STORY. PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD CAN TALK PURE TRASH TO SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST A LOVED ONE, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO WHITE BLACK ISSUES THE FILTERING IS DIFFERENT. TAKE NOTE TO NUMBER OF COMMENTS POSTED COMPARED TO OTHER STORIES.TO THE LANGUAGE POLICE YES I DID POST IN CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • by Triad Location: Triad on Feb 16, 2012 at 06:20 AM
    I wish people would realize segretion does work well as long as all students are getting a quality education. There a handful of charter schools in Greensboro that 99% black and they are performing well above state standards. Two of those schools are high schools, none of the kids have dropped out since it was chartered 5 yrs ago and the teen pregnancy rate is the lowest in the state. Again they are 99% black with black teachers...The only problem is if there were in schools that were 99% white, the NAACP would cry racism.
  • by I Want To Hear... on Feb 15, 2012 at 08:57 PM
    I never hear any of these old black folks talk about how much better school was before desegregation. I guess the fact is, white school was FAR better and back in the beginning, blacks appreciated this. Now, they scoff at school and make it seem like it's all a sham created by whites to make blacks look stupid. Tests & books made for whites, rules made for whites only. I've even hear some say that the FOOD at the cafeteria is designed and picked for white children. Just once I want to hear ONE black man say, "Segregation was better".
  • by Julia on Feb 15, 2012 at 06:59 PM
    a lot of those kids NEED their tail whipped
  • by Julie Location: Cumberland City on Feb 15, 2012 at 06:44 PM
    AL, AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, and WY are the 19 U.S. States that allow disciplinary beating of schoolchildren in taxpayer funded schools in 2012, already Illegal in Schools in 31 U.S. States! Mandatory Reporters of suspected child abuse, school teachers, coaches and administrators, legally hit schoolchildren, Kindergarten through Twelfth grade, with thick wooden paddles, SEXUAL ASSAULT when done to a non-consenting adult, to inflict Pain as Punishment for minor infractions, some states such as Tennessee do not require parental consent or notification for schoolchildren to be "Paddled". Several "School Paddling States" have "Teacher Immunity Laws" to protect school employees from criminal/civil action, leaving INJURED schoolchildren's families NO LEGAL REDRESS! Search "A Violent Education" for disturbing facts! Please support Federal Bill H.R. 3027 to Abolish Corporal Punishment of Students in ALL U.S. Schools at donthitstudents dot com
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