Education

Speight School.

Per Speight Middle School’s “About Us“:

“Speight Middle School first opened its doors in the fall of 1951 at 6640 Speight School Road[, Stantonsburg, North Carolina.]  At that time, however, Speight School stood as the only school on this side of Wilson County where young black children could receive a high school education.  Before Speight opened, black students were only provided with a 7th-grade education. Recognizing the need for further educational opportunities, concerned citizens began meeting to organize their efforts to provide a high school education for their children.  It took ten years, a lawsuit, and a donation of land, but Speight School was finally opened. The school started out with a faculty of 24 teachers, a librarian, and a principal. By the end of its third year, it was the largest high school in the county, with 40 teachers and approximately 1100 students.  At its peak, Speight School served over 1400 students a year. In 1970, Speight became a middle school when the integration of the county system was complete. Speight Middle School was reopened in a beautiful new facility on Old Stantonsburg Road July on 2001. Although we were all excited about the new facility, the faculty and staff of Speight are dedicated to maintaining its positive reputation, high standards of excellence, and high quality of education for our students.  Through the efforts of our staff, students, parents, and community supporters, we know that Speight Middle School will continue to be a symbol of educational excellence and opportunity in the Wilson County area.”

Speight High School was the culmination of the persistent and creative demands of Mark B. Sharpe and other African-American parents that Wilson County meet its obligation to educate their children.  For a full account of their triumphant struggle, see Charles W. McKinney’s Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina.

From “County Schools Enter New Era With Consolidation Completed: Two New Colored Schools Are Best in North Carolina,” Wilson Daily Times, 15 August 1951.

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

I post this information from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Leadership Forum as a public service announcement and as a reminder to myself of the possibilities for funding for futures of Rountree, Odd Fellows and Vick cemeteries.

Grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as sites, museums, and landscapes representing African American cultural heritage. The fund supports work in four primary areas: Capital Projects, Organizational Capacity Building, Project Planning, and Programming and Interpretation.

Grants made from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will range from $50,000 to $150,000. In 2019, the National Trust awarded $1.6 million to 22 projects. Read more about them here. Since establishing the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund’s National Grant Program in 2017, the National Trust has invested $2.7 million in 38 diverse preservation projects across the country.

Read the answers to some of our frequently asked questions here. It will be updated as new questions come in.

Eligibility

Grant-funded projects must focus on African American cultural heritage. If applying for capacity building activities, the organization’s primary mission must be focused on African American cultural heritage.

Public agencies, 501(c)(3), and other nonprofit organizations are eligible. Applicants that have received previous National Trust financial assistance are eligible provided that all grant requirements are current.

No more than three grants will be awarded in any two-year period to a single grantee. Only one grant will be awarded per organization in any grant round. Only one type of grant will be awarded for each project phase.Grant recipients from the inaugural 2018 African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund National Grant Program are eligible to apply.

If an applicant is invited to submit a full application, the applicant will be required to become an organizational level Forum member of the National Trust to move forward with the application process. This requirement is designed to engage the applicants with the larger preservation community as they work through the project. More information on Forum can be found here, and more details will be provided if an applicant is selected to move forward in the process (see “Application Process” below).

Application Process

There is a two-step process to receive a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund:

1. Letter of Intent 
Deadline: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm local time.

A preliminary indication of interest and capacity. All Letters of Intent must be submitted through the National Trust’s online grant application system, by the deadline, or they will not be reviewed. A link to the application system is included at the bottom of this page.

2. Application
Deadline: May 1, 2020
The Letter of Intent review period will take approximately ten weeks. All applicants will be notified of their status at the end of this initial review period. If the applicant’s Letter of Intent is accepted, a full application will be requested. Instructions on how to complete the full application will be sent only to those organizations moving forward. You will have approximately five weeks to complete and submit the full application once you receive a notice to proceed.

New this year and grant round
, National Trust staff members will engage with the prospective grantees during the full application stage, and they will offer their assigned applicant technical support and advice to ensure they are submitting competitive grant proposals. Each staff member will act as the National Trust liaison, conduct sites visits as appropriate, and help applicants craft grant proposals. This collaborative engagement will benefit our selection process and grant-making.

Grant Conditions

Grants from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund may be used to fund up to 100% of the proposed project. While matching funds are not required for this program, projects that are leveraging additional investments are strongly preferred. The following grant conditions apply:

  • If the project involves a property, the grant recipient must either own the property or have a written agreement with the property owner stating that the grantee has permission to undertake the grant-funded project.
  • Grants or any matching funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  • Any documents or plans for preservation work that result from the project must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • Any construction projects must conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
  • Unless prior written approval of a bid waiver is obtained from the National Trust, at least three (3) competitive bids/quotes must be obtained for any procurement of services that exceed $50,000. This provision applies only to portions of the project supported by National Trust grant funds.
  • Grant recipients must include appropriate acknowledgement of National Trust and its philanthropic partners’ financial support in all printed materials generated for the project. As part of the grant agreement, a toolkit for promoting the grant will be provided to each grantee.
  • Consultants must be approved by the National Trust before grant funds are disbursed. Board members of the application organization cannot serve as consultants unless appropriate conflict of interest procedures are followed and documented.
  • Grant recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Within one year from the grant disbursement date, the project must be completed, and a final report and financial accounting of the expenditure of the grants must be submitted. If the project is not completed in accordance with the contract, the grant funds must be returned.
  • Applicants must agree not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or sexual orientation. This obligation also extends to disabled veterans, Vietnam-era veterans, and handicapped persons.
  • Additional grant conditions may be required by the National Trust’s philanthropic partners. They will be outlined in the grant contract.

Eligible Activities and Expenses

Grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund are designed to advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places representing African American cultural heritage, such as sites, museums, theaters, sports venues, churches, schools, universities, and landscapes. Grants awards may be made for activities and projects in the following categories:

Capital Projects

  • Restoration, rehabilitation, stabilization, and preservation of historic places and structures, including bricks-and-mortar construction and planning costs
  • Applicants can request up to $150,000 and can direct up to 15% of awarded grant funds for construction planning and documents

Organizational Capacity Building

  • Hiring new staff to increase the organization’s capacity (funds can be used to support salaries and benefits for grant-supported staff.) Applicants can request up to $150,000 for a two-year period 
  • Increasing current part-time staff to full-time in order to advance preservation priorities. Applicants can request up to $100,000 for a two-year period
  • Convening board, governance and nonprofit management trainings and organizational development activities such as strategic planning. Applicants can request $50,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs. 

Project Planning

  • Obtaining the services of consultants with expertise in the areas such as preservation architecture, business development, engineering and environmental studies, legal issues, fundraising and financial sustainability, organizational development, education, etc. to develop plans for implementation by organization
  • Development of viable business plans, feasibility studies, preservation plans, engineering and environmental studies, architectural plans, etc.
  • Applicants can request up to $75,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs

Programming and Interpretation

  • Sponsoring preservation conferences and workshops
  • Designing and implementing innovative preservation education, scholarship, mapping, and interpretative programs
  • Collaborating with artists, creatives, and scholars to re-imagine interpretation and programming, while advancing new approaches to storytelling and public engagement
  • Designing, producing, and marketing printed materials or other media communications
  • Applicants can request $50,000 and can direct up to 10% for indirect support/overhead costs

Up to 10% of awarded grant funds may be used for organizational overhead costs. Grants awarded for Capital Projects and Programming and Interpretation may include funding for both the planning and implementation of those projects. In the case of Capital Projects, up to 15% of awarded grant funds may be used for construction planning such as architectural and engineering services, code review, drawings, specifications, and geotechnical services.

Ineligible Activities and Expenses

  • Supplementation of existing staff or faculty salaries; volunteer reimbursements
  • Capacity building activities other than hiring new staff, increasing current staff from part-time to full-time, or board/governance development and nonprofit management training
  • Catering, entertainment, food and beverage costs
  • Costs associated with constructing new buildings or structures, including the creation of monuments and statues
  • Costs associated with creation or maintenance of archival collections (books, documents, ephemera, etc.)
  • Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date

Criteria

The National Trust, in consultation with the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund National Advisory Council, will select grant recipients by considering, among other points, the following criteria:

  • The historic significance of the property to be assisted and its association to African American cultural heritage
  • The extent to which the requested assistance will make a difference in preserving, restoring or interpreting the historic property or site, including what other funds might be leveraged by an existing award
  • The level of local support for the project, demonstrated through letters of support and information collected on the full application such as site visitation information, volunteer statistics, and other related metrics
  • The potential of the project to be a catalyst for further positive action to benefit other historic properties, neighborhoods or communities
  • The adequacy of plans and resources for future maintenance of the property or the continuation of activity for which grant support is requested
  • The ability and willingness of the applicant to carry out the proposed plans or activity within the project’s time frame if awarded
  • The amount of additional resources being brought to the project, either through additional cash investments or donated materials and services

Themes

While this is not an exhaustive list, there are several themes we are particularly interested in:

  • Activism and Protest Movements
  • Achievement and Innovation (education, science, business, politics, etc.)
  • Architecture and Black Architects
  • Arts, Culture, and Creative Expression
  • Cemeteries and Burial Grounds
  • Education (Not Rosenwald School Specific)
  • Free Black Settlements and Agricultural History
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Sacred Places and Churches
  • Landscapes of Slavery
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Statewide African American preservation organizations
  • Reconstruction Era Sites
  • Rosenwald Schools
  • Women’s History
  • LGBTQ History
  • Cities (addressing issues of displacement, gentrification, and affordability, and advancing solutions for historic redevelopment)

How to Apply

A Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted using the National Trust’s online grant application system. The LOI form will capture basic information about your organization and your project. When completing the forum, you may need the following items:

  • An IRS letter of determination (nonprofit applicants)
  • A list of major donors to your organization or project
  • Up to three photos of your site, if applicable

Application

Click here to access the Letter of Intent form. (Please note: You will be taken to the National Trust grants application system where you will need to create a user profile for your organization. This is a separate login than your National Trust login.)  If you have questions please email us.

A Christmas party at Saint Alphonsus School.

On 22 December 1946, Raines and Cox arrived at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School to photograph the children’s Christmas party.

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The boy kneeling at far left is Carl W. Hines Jr. Two other kneeling boys, including the one at far right in the double-breasted jacket, may be sons of Ruel and Louisa Jones Bullock. Can you identify other children in this photo?

Again, many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_218H_StAlphonseHolidayParty.

The obituary of Dorothy H. Ellis, 100.

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July 3, 1919 — Dec. 15, 2019

Dorothy Geneva Hammond Ellis, 100, of Wilson, died Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, at the UNC Hillsborough Hospital campus in Hillsborough.

“Dorothy was a beloved retired schoolteacher who taught eighth grade at Darden High School starting in 1942. She and her husband, Coach [James C.] “Shank” Ellis, went on to teach at Coon Junior High School until they retired early in 1979. While teaching at Darden, she was asked to use her basketball skills to coach the basketball team while the men went off to fight in World War II.

“The funeral will be held at noon on Monday, Dec. 23, at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 209 Pender St. N., Wilson. The Rev. Rogers E. Randall Jr. will officiate. Burial will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery, 1717 Lane St. SE, Wilson.

“A public viewing will be 2-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, in the Chapel of Edwards Funeral Home with the family visitation from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“Dorothy was born July 3, 1919, in Cheraw, South Carolina.

“Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home.”

Efficient, painstaking and polite superintendent marries.

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Wilson Mirror, 19 November 1890.

Frank Oscar Blount married Nettie Amanda Steward in Philadelphia in 1890.

Nettie S. Blount of 926 Lombard Street, aged about 30, died 2 April 1892 in Philadelphia. She was buried in Philadelphia’s Lebanon Cemetery.

A public library for black citizens.

Wilson County Public Library’s Local History Room holds a copy of “A History of Public Library Service to Blacks in Wilson, N.C.,” the master’s thesis Doretta Davis Anderson submitted to the University of North Carolina’s School of Library Science in 1976. Here are early excerpts :

“The honor of first suggesting a public library for the black citizens of Wilson, North Carolina belonged to a Mrs. Argie Evans Allen. Mrs. Allen suggested the idea of establishing a library for the black community as a project for her club, the Mary McLeod Bethune Civic Club. Accepting the idea, the club then authorized Mrs. Allen to carry our the project as she saw fit.

“The first actual recorded interest in the establishment of the library appeared in a letter, written by Mrs. Allen to Mrs. Mollie Huston Lee on June 7, 1943. Mrs. Lee, at that time was supervisor of North Carolina’s Negro Public Libraries.  …

“Subsequently, Dr. D.C. Yancey donated a room over his drugstore to the club for the establishment of a library. …

“… Volunteers were solicited to man the library. The first official ‘librarian’ was Evangeline Royal, a local high school student employed to operate the library after school.”

“The following persons were appointed to become members of the library’s first board of trustees: Mrs. W.M. Freeman (Chairman); E. Hilliard (Secretary); James Whitfield (Treasurer); E.F. Battle; William Hines; Dr. D.C. Yancey; and C.W. Foster.

“Considering its relative obscurity, the library was to circulate 108 volumes during its first year of operations and collect $539.40 in donations for operating expenses.

“The following year showed a marked improvement. Aside from acquiring a new librarian, the board of trustees was able to solicit appropriations from the local city and county officials for the financing of the library. … Under the direction of Miss Pauleze Coley (Bryant), the college graduate employed by the library, circulation for the year ending June 30, 1945 totaled 3,172 volumes. …”

Proposed floor plan of Wilson County Negro Library’s location on Pender Street.

  • Argie Evans Allen
  • D.C. Yancey — D’arcey C. Yancey.
  • Evangeline Royal — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 203 Pender Street, widow Ossie M. Royall, 33, an elevator girl at the courthouse; her mother Tossie Jenkins, 53, stemmer at a tobacco factory; daughters LaForest, 16, and Evauline Royall, 14; and a roomer named Ed Hart, 45, a laborer employed by the town of Wilson. Ossie and LaForest were born in Wilson; Evaline in Battleboro [Nash County]; and Tossie and Ed in Nash County.
  • W.M. Freeman — Willie Mae Hendley Freeman.
  • E. Hilliard
  • James Whitfield
  • E.F. Battle
  • William Hines
  • C.W. Foster — Carter W. Foster.
  • Pauleze Coley (Bryant) — Elizabeth Pauleze Coley Bryant.

115 Pender Street East today. The library was housed in the storefront at left until the early 1970s, when it moved to a location on Pender south of Nash Street. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Saint Alphonsus graduates.

November is Black Catholic History Month. Accordingly, I offer these images of a 1949 kindergarten graduation celebration at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School captured by Wilson’s preeminent 20th century photographers Charles Raines and Guy Cox. Do you recognize any of the children?

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Daniel McClain.

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Joyce Ellis.

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as PhC_196_CW_1211H _StAlphonsusGraduation1 through 10.

Gratitude to Safiya Bandele for identifying the children in photos 5 and 8.