Appomattox community working to preserve history of Rosenwald school building

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 9:33 PM EDT
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APPOMATTOX, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s a project that has been 25 years in the making for Ora McCoy. She’s been working to tell the history of a Rosenwald school building in Appomattox.

“I graduated from Carver-Price High school in 19 and 60, and you know we love our school and we just wanted to preserve it,” said McCoy.

In 1928, Carver-Price High School was built to serve the African American community during segregation. Led by Mrs. Mozelle J. Price, it had three teachers, with elementary and high school students.

“It was a really close-knit school,” said Hattie Gibson.

Hattie Gibson stayed with Mrs. Price, who housed students at her place called Camp Winonah. Gibson was from Nelson County.

“She was a smart woman. And she was a good person,” added Gibson. “She was wonderful to us.”

Gibson was the only graduate in the 1949 class.

“I mean a lot of doors that are open now to girls my age and my color, it wasn’t that way during that time. I mean you had to really work hard,” explained Gibson.

In 1959, Prince Edward County refused government-mandated integration and closed all schools. Everett Berryman and many others moved to Appomattox to continue their education.

“This school, it meant everything in the world to me because at that time I was 14 years old and right in that transitional period of early teenage years,” said Berryman.

The school grew to fifty students per classroom, but no one was turned away. In 1970 the school was integrated. Now, this history is going to be told at the Carter-Price Legacy Museum.

“And what we’re planning to do with this museum is have the history from before slavery to civil war to civil rights,” said McCoy. “And we’re well on the way to get that story told.”

The museum received a $150 thousand donation from Dominion Energy. McCoy hopes to open the museum in September 2023.