The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

January 26, 2013

Dubois on Main marking history

MOUNT HOPE — A historic plaque from Fayette County’s all-black high school is coming back into the spotlight after decades of obscurity.

A commemoration ceremony, historic presentation and celebration of the plaque’s re-emergence will be held Feb. 2 at DuBois on Main, a museum and community space in Mount Hope dedicated to the heritage of DuBois High School, which was open from 1919 to 1956.

Before it housed an integrated Mount Hope High School and before it emptied of students due to consolidation, the school building in East Mount Hope housed DuBois.

After integration, the plaque that identified the building as DuBois was covered over by a trophy case.  In the late 1960s, black students even staged a walk-out in protest, according to Jean Evansmore, the museum’s president.

Football players moved the trophy case to reveal the plaque, but it was quickly repositioned.

“Students going to that school did not know they were in what was DuBois High School. ... They would have seen no evidence of it,” says Evansmore.

A white student recently told her the story of seeing a group of black students who had walked out in protest standing outside the school one day. When he went downstairs for lunch, he saw the plaque because the case had been moved.

“Somebody organized it, and they followed through on the plan. I marvel at that. That’s great,” says Evansmore. “That’s people taking charge. Somebody’s got to step up to the plate.”

This act is similar to what Evansmore says was the intentional destruction of the previous DuBois building by parents and teachers who were frustrated by a lack of response from authorities to the need for a new building. The old school in Mount Hope burned in 1950.

While the new school was being built, students attended class in stores, temporary buildings and churches for three and a half years.

Evansmore expects some of those students to be in attendance at the Feb. 2 event, which will be held almost 59 years to the date that the new school opened on Feb. 1, 1954.

The ceremony and celebrations will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the museum’s building at 116 Main St., Mount Hope.

Food and music from jazz pianist Nate Shelton, who recently donated a piano to DuBois on Main, are also planned.

The plaque was previously in Mount Hope’s Mustang Memorabilia Room on Main Street. Mount Hope Heritage and Hope is donating it to DuBois On Main.

The celebration kicks off a month’s worth of activities at the museum related to Fayette County’s black history.

On Feb. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m., Danny Wright — historian, Fayette County circuit clerk and a DuBois On Main board member — will share the history of four black legislators from Fayette County who served in the House of Delegates from 1896 to 1918.

Then on Feb. 23, an exhibit on “The Bowles Family” will be revealed. William and Annie Bowles lived on Mound Street in Mount Hope. Both William, born in 1873 in Coalburg, and Annie, born in 1885, were school teachers at black schools in southern West Virginia. They married in 1912.

About 15 years ago, Evansmore was given a garbage bag full of diplomas, awards, report cards, photographs and other documents related to the Bowles family. For years, she has served as the historian for the DuBois Reunion, which happens every year in Beckley and attracts alumni from all over the country.

“You will learn so many little interesting facts from that collection because of those many documents that were kept,” says Evansmore.

DuBois On Main is currently holding a membership drive. For a $10 yearly fee, members receive newsletter updates, a copy of the annual report and attendance at the annual meeting in October.

To request an application, call 304-578-7707, e-mail DuBoison116Main@gmail.com, or stop by the museum at 116 Main St. in Mount Hope. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

More information about DuBois on Main can be found at http://www.facebook.com/DuboisOnMain or, in coming weeks, at duboisonmain.org.

— E-mail: cmoore@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Manchin says mines should speak out about coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Raleigh’s $19.6 million budget approved at special meeting

    Raleigh County’s $19.6 million budget for fiscal year 2014-15 is on the books. The budget and the levy rate were approved at a special county commission meeting Tuesday morning.

    April 16, 2014

  • Rainelle Town Council pulls plans to annex roads

    Residents of several communities in Greenbrier County can rest assured they won’t be affected by a proposed road annexation after Rainelle Town Council decided not to move forward with the plan.

    April 16, 2014

  • Calendar — Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    April 16, 2014

  • City and county code enforcement offices separate

    After 10 years of partnership, the City of Beckley and the Raleigh County Code Enforcement offices have decided to part ways.
    Mayor Bill O’Brien said after several meetings with county commissioners, the groups decided to separate.

    April 16, 2014

  • Learn about advance directives at RGH

    Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day and personnel will be available at Raleigh General Hospital from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to anyone interested in learning more about advance directives or who are ready to prepare them at no cost.

    April 16, 2014

  • Greenbrier Valley Famer’s market to open

    The Greenbrier Valley Farmers Market will be opening for the 2014 season Saturday at its “green space” on the corner of Arbuckle Lane and U.S. 219 in downtown Lewisburg.

    April 16, 2014

  • Oak Hill council discusses vacant buildings

    Oak Hill City Council met in regular session Monday to talk ordinance adoption and smoking issues reported in Oak Hill City Park, which was an issue recently raised to Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass.

    April 16, 2014

  • Beckley’s emergency preparedness efforts still ongoing

    Although the City of Beckley Director of Emergency Services position was eliminated two months ago, the county is continuing Kevin Taylor’s emergency preparedness efforts.

    April 16, 2014

  • Old GHS building may get new life

    A Ronceverte school building that was shuttered by consolidation in 1992 may find new life as apartments for senior citizens, if plans floated by a Kentucky development firm come to fruition.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide