Mecklenburg County Donates $125K To Save Jim Crow-Era Siloam School

Dec 10, 2019

A historic Jim Crow-era school building that educated African American children has received a large donation for its transformation into a museum exhibit.

From left: Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio, Comissioner Susan Harden, and Chairman of the County Commission George Dunlap present a check Tuesday to Charlotte Museum of History CEO Adria Focht and trustee Fannie Flono.
Credit Michael Falero / WFAE

The donation for the Siloam School came from the Mecklenburg County government. Chairman of the County Commission George Dunlap, Comissioner Susan Harden and County Manger Dena Diorio presented a check for $125,000 to staff of the Charlotte Museum of History on Tuesday morning.

Fannie Flono chairs the Museum’s committee to preserve the school. She hoped this gift would inspire other people to pitch in.

"We hope the rest of the community is going to look at this effort and say that they too, can get involved," Flono said. "I think this is a wonderful way to talk about some of the issues that we are currently facing and the racial divisiveness that is currently underway in this country."

Dunlap said he was moved to support the county's funding of the effort after Flono invited him to tour the site, which is located off West Mallard Creek Church Road and sits next to an apartment complex.

"I was overcome with emotion to know that this facility was located here, and that it was in the condition that it was in," Dunlap said.

The Charlotte Museum of History has raised $185,000 of its approximately $800,000 goal for the project after three years of fundraising. The money will allow the organization to move the building to its campus in east Charlotte and provide educational tours and programming around the exhibit.

Museum CEO Adria Focht said the city of Charlotte had also contributed $50,000.

The Siloam School is one of the last remaining Rosenwald Schools, a series of school buildings funded in part by Booker T. Washington and businessman Julius Rosenwald in the early 20th century.