Counties stake claims to Rosenwald school
Joy Graham

A treasured building from the past speaks of a lost era of education and history. Davilla’s African-American Rosenwald schools await restoration and recognition in the National Register of Historical Places.

The building was the center for the African-American community in northwest Milam County. This two-teacher school was a plain white-frame, pier and beam structure.

It contained two small vestibules, two adjoining classrooms with identical cloak closets.

Davilla Rosenwald School proudly served as the educational facility for over 60 black students from the 1st to the 10th grade.

A non-profit organization made up of former students who attended Davilla Rosenwald school organized to restore this historic treasure for a Community Center in Davilla.

On a recent visit to Arline Gadison’s home (located south of the school building) Arline and Wilmer Green recalled their childhood memories and happy times while attending Rosenwald School.

The school presented Christmas and Easter pageants. These women talked excitedly as they described their costumes their mother made and dressed them in. They remembered the dedicated teachers, the school cafeteria that served delicious lunches, and don’t forget the play during recess.

The present issue is who owns Davilla Rosenwald School building and lot?

Hill Fontaine and Shelby Non Profit 501c3 Organization, whose membership includes many of the past students of Rosenwald School, is ready to begin restoration of the building. Plans are awaiting legal proof of ownership.

The only deed of record is in Milam County. When the community schools of each county closed, and students transferred to other school districts in cities of the county and Davilla students transferred to adjoining cities within Milam County (but also to Bartlett in Williamson County). To date the only deed on record is filed in Milam County.

Former Rosenwald students of Rosenwald School, Wilmer, Arline and Darlene Burleson transferred to Cameron O. J. Thomas, so Bartlett did not receive all the students from the Davilla area.

Is the 1913 deed filed in Milam County the legal deed of record for Rosenwald School? Consolidation of schools did not happen until the late 1940’s.

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2013-02-14 digital edition

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