CURRIE -- Canetuck school is the best of the eight Rosenwald schools left in Pender County. The others are falling apart and may be lost forever. In the early 1900s Julius Rosenwald used part of his Sears and Roebuck fortune to fund the segregated schools to provide a place for Black children to learn. Rosenwald school researcher Claudia Stack believes since the schools have integrated, the rich history of the Rosenwald schools is seemingly overlooked. "I think it's difficult for people to talk about segregation now and that's probably the reason why some of these schools have been forgotten". That's why the Historic Wilmington Foundation has listed the area's Rosenwald schools as some of the most threatened historic places. The prestigious title promotes awareness and debate about how to preserve historic landmarks. The Canetuck school, although in dire need of repair, is still used as a community center. Many of the former students return to the old school to reflect on their formative years. Kenneth Keith is one of them. "We enjoyed the teacher, she would tell us we were handsome little men. so we would look forward to seeing her here everyday because she made us feel good like we were little men". "If they gave you an assignment to read and you didn't read, you got paddled". Reva Capers remembers the days when there was no bus ride to school, instead you had to walk. "We used to walk from here and our first stop would be to Eileen Moore's. She would always have a pan of biscuits and molasseses when we walked to and from school. We would be waiting to get out of school to get some of those biscuits and molasseses". "What I really really enjoyed about school is that we were like family". The Historic Wilmington Foundation plans to nominate the Rosenwald schools again this year. The list comes out in May.
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