Anyone coming to the Outer Banks from the north will pass a plain looking wooden building with a small belfry and a sign out front that reads, âåÛåÏJarvisburg Colored School.âåÛå
It is remarkable that such a nondescript building could say so much about the history of our nation, yet it does and it for that reason that the building holds such significance.
Built from native woods by the local African-American community sometime in the late 19th century, records indicate the building was either moved or constructed at its present site sometime in the 1890s. During a time of separate but equal doctrine in the United States, it served as the school for the Jarvisburg âåÛåÏcoloredâåÛå population until 1950.
Grade six was a far as the school went and the last graduating classes–who were instrumental in the restoration of the building–have recorded memories of students going back to the sixth grade two, three and four times to continue an education that was being denied to them.
The county did create a high school for African-Americans in Snowden in 1931, but that was 30 miles to the north, there was no transportation and it was not much larger than the Jarvisburg School.
Architecturally the building is unique because it is a pre-Rosenwald School. In the first part of the 20th century, philanthropist Joseph Rosenwald contributed huge sums of money to construct quality schools for African-American communities throughout the South.