Join the Museum of the Albemarle on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Gaither Auditorium as Carolina Stephenson and Jochen Kunstler present “Children Go Where I Send You: The Story of Rosenwald Schools in Hertford County.”
The documentary tells the story of the historic Mill Neck School in Hertford County.
In August of 2011, Hurricane Irene severely damaged the roof of the school, leaving much of the interior exposed to the elements. Members of Mill Neck Missionary Baptist Church, to whom the school belongs, were at a crossroads. Should they tear down the 1927 structure or should they find a way to achieve their dream of turning it into a community center?
The elderly and dwindling African American population of the church drew upon the past to help them make the right decision for the future. Because Hertford County has one of the nation’s highest poverty rates, people’s priorities here are putting gas in the
tank and food on the table. Would the community be able to overcome this and other hardships to achieve their dream of turning the crumbling building into an agricultural museum and rural education center?
“Children Go Where I Send You” captures Mill Neck members, historians, and others on their journey to save this historic school.
Hertford County public school students assisted in every phase of this documentary project from researching, to interviewing, to filming and editing. The video also includes information about Hertford County’s other nine Rosenwald schools, four of which remain standing today.
In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Rosenwald Schools to its list of Most Endangered Historic Places. The goal of “Children Go Where I Send You” is to help preserve our precious African American history for future generations before it is too late.
Throughout the Albemarle region there are a number of Rosenwald Schools, or historic school sites. The Moyock and Coinjock Rosenwald Schools in Currituck County are two examples of the historic schools.
Elizabeth City State University was also home of a Rosenwald School.
The schools are named for Julius Rosenwald, then president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., who collaborated with Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute to build more than 5,300 schools, shop buildings and teachers’ homes for Southern blacks in the early 1900s.
The largest concentration of Rosenwald Schools is in North Carolina. And many area residents are familiar with the Rosenwald Schools in South Mills and Jarvisburg. But the one at ECSU had existed quietly, without much acclaim, even after being placed on the National Historic Register in 1994. It is home to the university’s ROTC program.
For More Information about this free program, call Museum of the Albemarle at 252-335-1453.