Simply throughout the tracks from downtown Monroe, the historic Winchester group raised a number of outstanding figures in North Carolina’s historical past.
MONROE, N.C. — Minutes from downtown Monroe, North Carolina, throughout the railroad tracks, sits the Winchester group.
A small, quant neighborhood as soon as tucked method from the remainder of city, not by alternative however by legislation, Winchester is the place Black individuals lived in the course of the Jim Crow period.
Regardless of being introduced with the challenges of racism and discrimination, Surluta Anthony, who grew up within the neighborhood, remembers profitable individuals coming from Winchester.
“Two cops who lived in the neighborhood, two pool halls, 10 civil rights leaders, together with one famend chief, Robert Williams,” mentioned Councilwoman Surluta Anthony, an alumna of Winchester College. “We had six ministers.”
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The checklist goes on, and the success of Winchester residents stemmed from the group faculty, additionally named Winchester.
Constructed within the early 1920s as the primary Black faculty in Monroe, Winchester served as a degree of pleasure for its college students who knew training was a passport to escaping the segregated South.
“Lecturers at the moment knew this was the start of the nice flight, the nice migration, that folks had been transitioning from farming into metropolis life,” mentioned Robert Heath. “The lecturers knew you needed to be able to compete with training.”
Within the 1960s, in the course of the Civil Rigs Period, colleges throughout the nation had been starting to combine. Winchester was scheduled to observe go well with in 1966, however days earlier than white college students had been speculated to attend the college, it mysteriously burned down.
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“The varsity flooring had been all wooden and it burned actually quick,” Well being mentioned. “It has not ever been came upon who did it however we all know it didn’t catch by itself.”
Winchester closed and all of its college students and lecturers transferred to the all-white Monroe Excessive College, making it the primary absolutely built-in highschool in North Carolina.
There’s just one unique constructing left from the hearth. It now serves as a group heart and head begin, with the college’s legacy outliving its darkish and heated demise.
Notable alumni embody Dr. Christine Darden, who broke boundaries within the STEM trade at NASA, whose life was featured within the award-winning 2016 film, “Hidden Figures.”
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Additionally, Essence Journal co-founder J.C. Blount, educator Robert Heath and the primary black girl to be elected on Monroe metropolis council again in 2013, Surluta Anthony.
“This can be a vital a part of the historical past of Monroe and Union County,” mentioned Anthony. “All varieties of individuals received their basis and confidence from proper right here.”