On the rural mainland of Currituck County lives one of the oldest standing historic African-American schools in the state of North Carolina, the Jarvisburg Colored School.
It is now a museum celebrating and documenting the education of the African-American school children that went to this and other schools in Currituck beginning after the Civil War up until desegregation.
Displays, artifacts, and an actual classroom are on exhibit in this museum.
It tells the stories of the students who went to these schools and of the leaders in the community who built them.
It also shares what life was like living in a coastal rural community during an era when education for African American students was not considered important.
Currituck County video production specialist Alex Perry has put together a documentary sharing these stories, giving the viewer a visual timeline of how the African-American schools in Currituck were formed and how they eventually became desegregated.
“Restored with Purpose, School Days Revisited” gives an oral history of the early African American education and culture in coastal North Carolina. It features the students who went to these schools and how they functioned in their communities.
“I am honored and proud to be able to meet and hear the stories directly from these students, and hopefully give them, the school, and the community the tribute they deserve in preserving an important historic site like this,” Perry said.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on it,” Perry said. “This museum is an eye opener to our past and I recommend anyone who is interested in its history to come and visit it.”
Thankfully these stories were gathered before this generation was lost,” Perry said.
“This school and museum began a long journey of restoration in 2003 and it took a tremendous effort from the community, the architect and the contractor to get it back into the shape that it is today,” said Tameron Kugler, Currituck Outer Banks Tourism Director.
“It was such a worthwhile and important project for both the Historic Jarvisburg Colored School Board and Currituck County to restore this school and share another part of the history of this area,” Kugler said.
“Today, the school and museum are placed on the National Register Historic Places. Not only is it a great story, it is a tribute to the African American community and leaders, both past and present, who built and have now restored this school,” Kugler said.
The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School Museum invites everyone to view this documentary and also to come and see the museum for yourself.
HJCS is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from February through November with limited hours in December.
School groups and larger tours can be scheduled at any time throughout the year by calling HJCS at 252.491.2409. For more information visit www.hjcschool.org.