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Charlotte Pledges $50,000 To Restore, Move Wooden Schoolhouse For Black Children

Steve Harrison
The city of Charlotte pledged $50,000 to the Charlotte Musuem of History to move the Siloam School off Mallard Creek Church Road.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles gave the Charlotte Museum of History a $50,000 city check Thursday morning to help preserve and move the Siloam School off Mallard Creek Church Road.

The school was one of the thousands of Rosenwald schools built in the south in the early 1900s to educate African-American students. Booker T. Washington enlisted the help of Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, to build the small wood-frame schools.

Washington and Rosenwald's partnership helped build more than 5,000 small schools in the south in the early 1900s, according to the museum of history. There were 813 in North Carolina.

Today, the Siloam School is in disrepair, adjacent to the modern Mallard Glen Apartments.

With the city’s help, the school will be repaired and moved to the Charlotte Museum of History on Shamrock Drive within five years.

Lyles says the school is a reminder of challenges African-Americans faced in the segregated south.

"This project is a part of the historical and cultural efforts that we are making that will allow us to move forward," Lyles said. "I often talk about – we have great opportunities in Charlotte, but many people were left behind as a result of this kind of policy – segregation and Jim Crow laws."

When the school is moved, the museum plans to use it as an educational space with exhibits that foster racial reconciliation.

Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.