GRANT #359:

The Lafayette School Restoration

08/09/2019
Their School Was Closed In 1969 And They Never Stopped Trying To Get It Back

There’s been a lot of talk lately about historic, systemic racism. Here’s an example: the old Lafayette School in Camden, Arkansas. Back when public schools were segregated, this is where the African American children went from their first school days through high school graduation. It was their neighborhood school. Generations felt allegiance to their alma mater. However, during court-ordered desegregation, Lafayette was closed and the building was sold to private owners. Lafayette alumni and the surrounding community had no way to stop the loss of their landmark.

Now they do.

Lafayette School Restoration, Inc. is reclaiming this heritage location as members set out to acquire and restore the property. It’s taken so many volunteers working throughout the decades to get control of the place, but there’s so much work to be done.

They have their sights set on something simple to start: they want to clean up and landscape the outside of the old gymnasium which sits on a two-acre lot.

Seeing it transformed on the outside will tell the community that something’s up on the inside, too.

The Restoration will preserve the community’s heritage, while serving the current needs of people in the Camden area who could use some tutoring, or a mentor, or even a meal. That gym is going to become a Community Center welcoming families, seniors, veterans, and youth.

We’re glad this AWB grant will help with the landscaping expenses.

We are excited about everything that’s growing, thanks to the restoration volunteers and a community that never gave up on getting back what was theirs.