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Fredonia is great in hosting community events

If the walls of the Fredonia Community Clubhouse could talk, the stories they would tell. The building went up in 1919, one year after the Great War. At first it was a school house and served the Fredonia community through the next war to end all wars.

In the post-WW II era, the school consolidated with Five Points but the building continued to serve as a place for public meetings. It continues in that role today.

Right now, Fredonia residents are making plans for a centennial celebration for the grand old building in 2019, the same year the state of Alabama celebrates its bicentennial.

I’ve been to the clubhouse many times over the years, to the annual barbecues, to Heritage Day events, to chili supper sing-along and candidate forums. Fredonia hosted another one of those on Tuesday. As usual, the food was good, the place was packed and the people were friendly and welcoming.

One of the candidates, incumbent State Rep. Bob Fincher, commended Fredonians for coming together the way they do.

“I don’t know of a community anywhere that’s the size of Fredonia that can come together and host a candidate forum like this,” he said.

That comment drew some applause from the townspeople present.

One citizen, Judy Collins, said, “We are active citizens, not couch potatoes.”

It’s good to see Fredonia residents getting ready for what could be a really special year in 2019. First of all, it will be Alabama’s 200th birthday. The 100th anniversary of the Fredonia Community Clubhouse will be something special, too. And let us not forget another building in Fredonia that will be turning 100 next year. That will be the New Hope Rosenwald School. This building is a historic treasure and needs to be preserved for future generations. At one time there were over 5,000 of these schools, shops and teacher homes built mostly in the Southeastern U.S. Construction was funded by Julius Rosenwald, part owner and president of the Sears-Roebuck Company. It was to compensate for the chronic underfunding of public education for African-American children in the first half of the 20th century.

Relatively few Rosenwald Schools still stand. This alone makes the one in Fredonia special. In 2015, the National Trust classified Rosenwald Schools as national treasures, and we have one of them right here in Chambers County.

Here’s hoping that 2019 is a special year for the state of Alabama and the Fredonia community.