History Makers program held to help preserve Old Lowndesboro School
Published 5:46 pm Friday, February 28, 2014
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By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
“These schools were built way back before any of us ever existed, and it was for the education of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents,” said former Lowndes County Public Schools Superintendent of Education Eli Seaborn.
Seaborn was the guest speaker at the Lowndesboro School Alumni Association’s second annual History Makers Program held last Saturday at Lowndesboro First Missionary Baptist Church.
The group is working to preserve the old Lowndesboro School, established circa 1883.
The event, which was held as a reunion and fund-raising event for the preservation of the old school, honored Lowndes County Public School’s first black school superintendent Uralee A. Haynes and Season.
While Haynes was unable to attend the event, Seaborn spoke of the importance of preserving the historic school to the blacks of Lowndes County.
He told alumni they have to have the kind of spirit in order to ask other people to assist them in what they are trying to do.
“You are not doing it for yourselves. You are doing it for posterity. So when you leave here your grandchildren will say this is where great-great-grandmom went to school,”
Seaborn said. “My kids will not have that opportunity because my school has been burned down.”
Seaborn said, “What you are trying to do here is recognize things that happened down through the years that need to be remembered.” He said, “Now, I have nothing to say that’s where I went to elementary school…. There are some things that are worth keeping.”
Seaborn told the alumni, “I don’t know how many of these little schools are still standing. They have been burned down, they have been torn down, but that’s one (the old Lowndesboro School) that’s standing.”
Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate, who was in attendance for the event, said, “I think it’s great what they are doing. We’ve been trying to restore some buildings. It’s great to have other groups pitching in to try to help preserve these structures because once they disappear, they’re just gone.”
Deandra J. Evans Sr., president of the Lowndesboro School Alumni Association, said the Association has received an estimate that it will cost $200,000 to retore the old school. He also appealed for support from alumni.
According to information provided by Mary Bolling Brumby and the Lowndesboro Alumni Association, Lowndesboro First Missionary Baptist Church and the historic school operated out of the same building 1868-1883.
The State of Alabama was authorized to spend $600 from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands for the school’s construction in 1870.
Formerly known as Lowndesboro Male Academy, the lot was deeded by Mansfield Tyler to the Trustees of the Lowndesboro Colored Education Association in 1883 and it is believed the school was built in its current location that same year.
The historic school in its present location was placed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in 2011. That same year, Lucius and Myrtle K. Evans donated the school to the Elmore Bolling Foundation for preservation and restoration.