Appomattox community working to preserve history of Rosenwald School building...
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.
Seven Appomattox County High School advanced placement history students were awarded on Friday for essays they wrote on the time period from the Civil War to civil rights and beyond.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park Chief of Education and Visitor Services Ernie Price noted that the goal of the contest was to see how the students could link historic events from the past to present day.
Melody Burke placed first in the essay contest, which was judged by people at the Surrender Grounds and the Carver Price Legacy Museum.
“It is exciting,” Burke said of placing first in the essay contest.
Students David Xu, Adam Fleshman, Savannah Slagle, and Elizabeth Fitzer placed third while Jordan Moore and Bethany Walker placed second. Melody Burke placed first.
The students were awarded monetarily, a commemorative coin and received a certificate.
The essays dealt with how the students’ lives are impacted by events that occurred in Appomattox.
The purpose of the contest was to have the high school students explore the events of the Surrender, changes since the Surrender, how the events have impacted their lives to present day.
Members of the Carver Price Alumni Association and the National Park judged the essays, which had to be no more than 1,500 words. A scoring system was used when reading the essays and it was based on well students connected the Civil War to present day and literary style.
Prior to writing the essays, students visited the Surrender Grounds and sat in on a 5-member panel discussion about integration in October at the Carver Price Legacy Museum, which was formerly a high school for black students.
When the students visited the museum, they were to keep in mind what it would have been like to live in Appomattox, when the schools were racially segregated and how it may have impacted the friends they have, the sports they participated in, as well as the people they spend time with outside of school.
Students toured the park to get an understanding of military events that lead to the surrender, and they were to understand the role played at Appomattox and consider what the surrender meant to those who were enslaved.
During the panel discussion, students had the opportunity to hear from panelists who lived through integration. The panelists talked about what they witnessed during the time of integration including discrimination and disparity.
Students also picked someone in their family or a person who is over the age of 60 who did not attend Carver-Price and interview them to learn about their memories on integration.
Ideally, students were to pick someone who was living in the Appomattox area about 1970 who remembers the integration of Carver-Price and Appomattox County High School.
$20,000 Steinway Grand Piano dedicated to Princeton University in honor of Mike McCoy
On May 31, a ceremony was held at the Ivy Club of Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, to dedicate a Steinway Grand Piano in memory of Mike McCoy, class of 1989. Over 80 of his friends and classmates and 18 members of the McCoy family, who traveled from Appomattox, VA for the event, gathered in the great hall of the Ivy Club to pay tribute to Mike’s life and legacy. Stories and remembrances were shared, and photographs and video of Mike’s many performances were also on display. The ceremony also featured performances by the Princeton University Gospel Ensemble and The Princeton Tigertones, musical groups that Mike had been involved with as an undergraduate.
When news spread of Mike’s sudden passing on December 2, 2012, his friends were determined that his spirit and memory live on for years to come. More than 30 of his friends donated more than $20,000 for the purchase of this grand piano that now sits in the grand hall of the Ivy Club. It was in this same spot, that Mike would play and sing as an undergraduate much to the delight of his peers.
A brass plaque, presented to Mrs. Ora McCoy and Ed McCoy, will be mounted above the piano. It will read, “This piano is dedicated in memory of our brother song, Mike McCoy (1966-2012). “Shower the people you love with love.”
Our former teacher, Mrs. Harriet P. James passed away!
All of us were influenced by her!
Greetings to Carver-Price High School Alumni and Friends,
I am pleased and proud to offer to you and your family a book that I enjoyed putting together about four members of my immediate family.
This book is entitled, “Let Every Day Be Your Best Day” and features my grandfather, John B. Pierce, my father, Gilbert L. James, my mother, Harriet P. James and my cousin, Charles O. Jeffries, Jr.. These four members were standouts in either education, agriculture, the military or all three fields.
The cost of each book is $20.00. The proceeds from the book will go to the Harriet P. James Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Please make checks or money orders payable to: Beatrice P. James
Beatrice Pierce James
711 North Court Street
Appomattox, Virginia 24522
(H) 434-352-5362 or (C) 804-350-0187
August 29, 2012
Carver-Price alum, Odessa Booker, 91, visits alma mater
The old Carver-Price auditorium has been empty for a number of years. The Alumni Association has asked the County to agree to give us a long-term lease on it if we can raise the approximately $200,000 needed to renovate the space.
If successful, we plan to operate the auditorium as a venue for local talent and community events. The auditorium would be named after the late Harriet P. James.
Got a story?
We didn't all grow up in the same America!
When I was growing up there were two different Americas. One for white folks and one for black folks. While the white folks were growing up in a free society, I was growing up in a repressed society dominated by racism and the doctrine of jim crow. Do any of you remember jim crow? It took me years to free myself of residuals from that experience. I'm probably still not entirely free of its influence. Do you have any interesting stories to tell? If so, contact us!
"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King, Jr.