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
  • Concord names Dr. Boggess as new president

    The Concord University Board of Governors has selected Dr. Kendra Boggess as the University’s 12th president, contingent upon approval by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

    April 23, 2014

  • fff Experts help growing entrepreneurs

    For farmers like the Yateses, there’s money on the table. They got to learn what and where some of those resources are at the Farm, Food, Finance seminar held at the Sandstone Visitor Center on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trucking association asks drivers to put down phones and drive safely

    As part of National Distracted Driving Month, the West Virginia Trucking Association is asking fellow drivers to put down the phone, according to a press release from the association.

    April 23, 2014

  • Rahall calls meeting on W.Va.’s drug problem

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall says he has arranged a roundtable discussion with federal and West Virginia officials on the state’s prescription drug abuse and trafficking problems.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 News APP Power.jpg Utility gets public input for project

    Construction on a $56 million transmission improvement project will begin in Fayette County come November, and representatives of Appalachian Power Company hosted a public workshop Tuesday at Midland Trail High School in order to gather community feedback before construction officially gets underway.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042314 News Burlington Circus Tix.jpg Burlington kids going to circus

    After a donation from a radio station, a group of local kids soon will get to see the wonders of the big top.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lewisburg takes initial step toward ‘Home Rule’

    While the state Department of Commerce touts the success of phase I of the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program, a Greenbrier County city hopes to be included in phase II, which will continue until July 1, 2019.

    April 23, 2014

  • United Way to host ‘One Day Without Shoes’ walk

    Everyone is invited to take off their shoes for a walk around town April 29 to raise global awareness about child poverty.

    April 23, 2014

  • Women’s Resource Center to show free film for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

    In effort to bring awareness and prevention, the Women’s Resource Center will host a free showing of the 2012 movie “Bully.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Ask the WVU experts on Facebook

    From graduation to gardening, West Virginia University Extension Service experts will provide their advice to participants’ specific questions during a new, weekly, one-hour question and answer session through its Facebook page.

    April 23, 2014