Old school offers look into Black history - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Old school offers look into Black history

Alapaha- "For the benefit of this we say colored because that's what it was at the time," says James Boone.

When James Boone opens the doors of the Alapaha Colored School, he says it's like opening the doors to the past.

"You see all the cutting on the desks, this is where the kids put initials on the desks, all of these desks were hand-me-down desks. We didn't have the opportunity to get new things," he says.

The old separate but equal school was built in 1924, and after years of neglect and a roof that was about to cave in Boone and other graduates knew they had to save it.

"It was important because I went here. I went to school here and I got a lot of corrective action taken on me here," he laughs.

It was corrective action that Boone says made him the man he is today. In 2000 the school receive state grant money to restore the building and turn it into a museum. It was later put on the National Historic Registry.

"This was my favorite desk when I was going to school here," says Ben Davis as he points to an old wooden desk at the back of the room.

Even though it wasn't the most luxurious school, former students are thankful for the education and life lessons they learned there.

"We had to chop wood, we had to bring coals in from the outside. They would bring the coals and they would dump them outside, and then we would have to go outside and bring the coals in," Davis remembers.

The walls once covered in posters and chalk boards, now feature the men and women who taught at the school.

"We have come from a long way, even though we've got a long way to go, we've come from a long way," says Davis.

Classes may no longer be in session, but anyone who walks through the doors of the Alapaha Colored School will get a lesson in black history.

Board members of the Alapaha Colored school will host a black history program Saturday at the New Hope Baptist Church. It will begin at 2 PM. Free tours of the school will also be available.

Posted at 6:40 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com