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Charlotte Museum of History reopening historic Siloam School after 8-year restoration effort

Charlotte Museum of History is set to reopen the historic Siloam School after an 8-year restoration and fundraising effort.
Charlotte Museum of History
Charlotte Museum of History is set to reopen the historic Siloam School building to the public on Saturday, June 15, after an eight-year restoration and fundraising effort.

The Charlotte Museum of History plans to reopen the historic Siloam School on Saturday, June 15, after an eight-year fundraising and restoration effort. The school will become one of five historic buildings the museum preserves and protects on its eight-acre campus off Shamrock Drive in east Charlotte

The Siloam School was built to teach African Americans in the 1920s. As part of the restoration efforts, the museum has resurfaced the building's floor — but kept the stains that existed — to tell the history of the building.

Terri L. White, president and CEO of the Charlotte Museum of History, said more than 30% of the work to restore the school went to minority-owned businesses.

“These were small businesses that otherwise aren’t able to compete for some of the larger-scale projects that are happening in Charlotte right now,” White said.
The museum raised more than $1.2 million from corporate, government, and private donations to relocate and preserve the building, which was at risk of being lost entirely due to its poor condition.

The Siloam School is one of the region's few remaining Rosenwald schools built in the segregated South to give Black students a place to learn. White said the building serves as a reminder of days that aren’t so long past.

“While there may be some who think that ‘Well, a one-room Black schoolhouse, that's not the legacy that I want for Charlotte.’ I look at it as the ingenuity and determination of Charlotteans is why this building is here,” White said. “And if anything, it shows that people from Charlotte are willing to fight for things that they want most.”

The Siloam School will be open to the public for free tours — and more — on Saturday at noon.

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Elvis Menayese is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race and equity for WFAE. He previously was a member of the Queens University News Service. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health.