News & Events
Community Celebration Planned for Rosenwald School Renovation
The Anderson School in the Long Ridge community of Mars Hill doesn’t look like much these days. It stands proud but silent against the onslaught of time, as vines and saplings crowd against its weathered board walls. Through broken windows, the remains of the old school piano are visible, with a smattering of brown leaves that give evidence to its use as a tobacco barn.
The ragged appearance of the Anderson School belies a historical significance to the South, to the community of Mars Hill, and especially to the young people who were educated within its walls. As one of over 5000 “Rosenwald” schools built in rural areas of 13 southern states in the early decades of the 1900s, the school represents this initiative that provided quality buildings and reliable access to public education for African Americans in the South. For people in the Long Ridge Community, the symbol is more personal. it was their school, representing not just education, but through it, a doorway to equality for their children.
On October 13, beginning at 5:30 pm, the Long Ridge Community and its Mt. Olive Baptist Church will join with representatives from Madison County Schools, the Town of Mars Hill, Mars Hill College, Madison County, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and North Carolina Conservation Trust for a celebration of the school’s history. The event will also publically introduce an initiative to preserve and renovate the Anderson Rosenwald School into a Cultural Community Center dedicated to promoting a fuller understanding of black history in the Blue Ridge region. The Mars Hill initiative is part of a nationwide movement to preserve Rosenwald Schools coordinated through the National Historic Conservation Trust.
Because the family of Joseph Anderson, for whom the school was named, is so closely related to both the Anderson School and Mars Hill College, the celebration has been planned to coincide with the college’s Founders Week. The event will include a decoration of Anderson descendant graves at the cemetery beside the school at 5:30. The event, planned to begin at 6 pm, will include a film about the local Rosenwald initiative and comments from the School Preservation Committee members as well as Anderson School alumni. The Community Celebration will be followed by a worship service at 7 pm at nearby Mt. Olive Baptist Church.
For more information about the Community Celebration, contact Willa Wyatt (828/206-3922) or Richard Dillingham (828/689-1296), members of the Rosenwald School Preservation Committee.
Directions to Anderson School:
• From Asheville, take I-26W to Mars Hill
• Take Exit 11 and turn left; travel approx. 1 mile to red light at top of hill
• Turn left on Main St.; travel approx 1.1 mile
• Turn slight right on Woods Ammons Road; travel approx .2 (2/10) of a mile
• Turn slight left on Long Ridge Road; travel approx .2 (2/10) of a mile
• Turn left on Mt. Olive Road; travel approx .2 (2/10) of a mile