Education has always been a strong part of
the African American community in Transylvania County. Originally African American children attended
schools near the communities where they lived.
The French Broad Church and School began around
1866 on Frank Allison’s property southeast of the French Board River in the
Everett Road area. According to
Nathaniel Hall the school operated for about 15 years.
Everett School has located a few miles
beyond the French Broad School on the old Everett Farm. The school operated until the end of the
1932-33 school year when it closed due to declining enrollment.
|Glade Creek School, 1938|
Across the river, at the foot of the hill
below the present day Glade Creek Baptist Church, was the Glade Creek
School. This was the longest running of
the small rural schools for black children.
According to a 1938 Transylvania County Schools insurance analysis the
1300 square foot building was wood frame with a metal roof. During the 1930s and 40s the enrollment ran
between 28 and 54.
Glade Creek School closed when the new
Rosenwald School opened in Brevard in the fall of 1948. A county school bus took the elementary age
students to Rosenwald.
On the west side of Brevard the Shady Grove
School operated for a few years in the late 1800s. It was located at the Shady Grove Baptist
Church on Buena Vista Drive where the old Shady Grove Cemetery is today.
In Brevard the first public school for
black children was located on Rice Street.
This 2-room, 2-teacher log-cabin school was later exchanged with Frank Jenkins
for land on West Main Street where a 4-room school was built around 1910.
|Rosenwald School, 1938|
In 1920 the school was expanded using a
combination of Rosenwald and other funds.
Julius Rosenwald was a philanthropist who established a fund to build
over 5000 schools in the south for African American children. The 1938 Transylvania County Schools
insurance analysis lists it as a wood frame building with a metal roof and
having 4300 square feet. The school
burned on March 12, 1941. For the next seven
years there was not a school building for elementary age black children in
Transylvania County. The African
American community provided make-shift classrooms for their children in the
basements and annexes of Bethel Baptist, Bethel A Baptist and Mills Chapel
African Methodist Episcopal Churches.
|Rosenwald School, 1948-1966|
On September 2, 1948 the new Rosenwald School
opened. It was constructed of stone, had
six classrooms, a cafeteria, an office and indoor plumbing. However, the school board did not provide
furnishings for the school. Students,
parents and teachers moved the old desks and chairs from the church classrooms
and funds were raised to purchase kitchen equipment and a piano. The fluorescent lights were provided by the
Ethel K. Mills, who taught at the Everett School and at
the old Rosenwald School, was named Principal in 1948 and donated many years to
enriching the education of Transylvania’s African American community.
Rosenwald continued to serve the African American elementary
children through 1966 when Transylvania County Schools were fully integrated. Today the administration offices are in the
These schools only served the elementary students; next week’s article will continue the story of education for the African American population of Transylvania County.
Sources for this article included, The Colored People of Transylvania County, 1861-1961 by Nathaniel Hall, Reflections: TCIO Celebrates 40 Years of Community Service and a The Heritage of Transylvania County, Volume II article by Tyler McCall. For additional information readers may also be interested in The Brevard Rosenwald School: Black Education and Community Building in a Southern Appalachian Town, 1920-1966 by Betty Jameson Reed.
Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments
or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or 828-884-3151 X242.