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The Voice of the Black Community

Local & State

Funds sought for Siloam’s restoration
Museum campaigns for historic school
 
Published Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:09 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

The historic Siloam Rosenwald School could have a new home by October.


The Charlotte Museum of History has taken point on a project to restore the structure (pronounced cy-lome).

Located in University City, the school’s state of disrepair requires approximately $600,000 to restore it for educational purposes and community gathering place.

Rosenwald Schools emerged throughout the South during the early 20th century to provide schools for African American children. While the Siloam School does not have an official affiliation with the Rosenwald Foundation, its structure mirrors the style. Some communities took it upon themselves to create such institutions, while others received funding from the Rosenwald Foundation. George E. Davis, the first African American professor at Johnson C. Smith University, was North Carolina’s Rosenwald agent, building 813 schools across the state – 26 in Mecklenburg County.

“The Rosenwald Schools were built not only to be an educational resource, but also a community gathering spot,” Charlotte Museum of History President and CEO Kay Peninger said.

In addition to being a part of museum tours, Siloam would be available for regular use during hours when the museum is not open to the public.

“We are trying to raise $600,000, and we really want it to be something like 60,000 people giving $10 each, which is how the funds would have been raised originally,” Peninger said. “A little bit at a time, so that it does have that proud base of support.”

The restoration, move and installation of the school are all contingent upon how quickly funds can be raised.

“I was doing some research on Rosenwald schools, and they used to have a Rosenwald Day,” Peninger said. “It was typically held in March or April. I’d love to find out more about that and maybe have a Rosenwald Day in April just to kind of help with the fundraising. Invite people out, and maybe have them give a gift to the GoFundMe or maybe give us a gift of $10 cash.”

October marks the centennial of the Rosenwald Foundation’s incorporation.

“The Rosenwald Foundation itself was incorporated in October of 1917,” Peninger said. “Wouldn’t that be cool to have the building here by 2017? It would be great to have October of 2017 as a great marker for something. If we raise the money very quickly, it could be a grand opening, or it could just be a date of when we move the building.”

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