Fredonia school to celebrate milestone

Published 5:49 pm Monday, October 21, 2019

FREDONIA — One centennial celebration took place at the Fredonia Community Club on Sunday, Oct. 13 and another one is planned for the New Hope Rosenwald School on Saturday.

“It will be taking place at 2 p.m. Eastern time at the New Hope Baptist Church, which is located right next door to the school,” said George Barrow, who is heading up a current restoration project of the historic school building. “Susan Webb will be our guest speaker.”

This past July, Webb was the guest speaker at a quarterly meeting of the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society, held inside the Fredonia Community Clubhouse. An early American school historian, Webb is widely known as America’s schoolmarm. Having lived in areas of the U.S. steeped in the history of country schooling, Webb has a passion for the study of early American education. Her 20 years as a classroom teacher, her background in theatrical presentations and more than a decade of early American education have prompted her to develop a unique, entertaining and yet informative program.

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On Saturday, she will be discussing the Rosenwald school program, which benefitted an estimated 660,000 African-American children in 15 southern states.

A collaboration between Julius Rosenwald, president and CEO of the Sears-Roebuck Company, and Tuskegee Institute President Booker T. Washington resulted in more than 5,300 school buildings being built from 1912 until 1932.

In terms of its architecture and construction, the New Hope School is a textbook example of one of these buildings. Relatively few of them are still standing today.

“We will be leading guests on a tour of the school,” Barrow said. “Some things in the program will be a repeat of what was done in the CVHS program in July, but we will also have some gospel singing, some alumni reflections, a model of the school and various artifacts on display. Refreshments will be served afterward. The program is open to the public, and we are hoping for a good turnout.”