Liberty County Commissioner Gary Gilliard talked about the Friends of Hineshaw Rosenwald School Inc, the newly formed non-profit that hopes to restore the historic Hineshaw School at the Oct. 15, Progress through People Luncheon.
The luncheon took place at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center, with limited in-person seating and also by Zoom.
For the past few years the Friends of Hineshaw Rosenwald School has worked toward buying the historic school from the Liberty County Board of Education.
Friends of Hineshaw Inc became a non-profit in 2019. Gilliard is the President and CEO. Board members include James Reid as Treasurer and Sharon Hopkins as Secretary. Other Board members are Daisy Shaw Pray, Cynthia Simpson Clancy, Douglas Lawrence Carter, Diana F. Reid and Dr. Charlie Gaulden.
With the organization now formalized Gilliard explained their goals. The group is looking to secure funding that will be needed for the purchase and restoration of the campus.
The plan is to restore the campus as a community center to include:
A day care center for infants and toddlers
Provide after school care for latch key students
Physical Fitness and other activities for seniors
Provide tutoring for students of all ages
Provide a Christian-based Recovery Ministry (Recovery Through Christ)
Provide office space for non-profit organizations
Restore the original school as a museum
Provide space for family reunions, banquets, and town hall meetings
Provide resources for the homeless to include access to food, clothing
Provide programs for Prison Re-Entry
Gillard explained the significant history of the school and its importance to the city during his presentation.
Gilliard said the Hineshaw Rosenwald School is located in downtown Hinesville in a section of the city that was the first area within the city limits, near Rebecca Street and Shipman Avenue, where African-Americans were allowed to purchase land and homes.
According to a previous Courier report, data from the 1920 U.S. Census recorded that the community consisted of landowners and laborers in the turpentine and logging industries. The community also had a few teachers, a store, barbershop, masonic hall and several churches.
Gilliard said construction on what was previously called the Hinesville Shaw School, began in 1930 and was completed in 1931.
Gilliard said the construction was a collaborative effort between Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington and Tuskegee Institute students, who together set out to construct approximately 3,500 schools throughout Georgia and the south.
Rosenwald was an American Businessman and Philanthropist who donated millions of dollars in matching fund to help educate African American children in the rural south, Gilliard explained.
The site of the current facility was sold to the Liberty County Board of Education for $100.00 by the Trustees of Hinesville Colored Schools of the State of Georgia. These Trustees consisted of Alonzo Simpson, J. H. Gause, and Robert Duggan. Property boarding the Hineshaw Campus was sold by Rebecca Hargrove Shipman to the City of Hinesville for street access to Hineshaw for $1.00. Her name is made significant by streets Rebecca and Shipman Avenue. The Hineshaw Campus as well as Rebecca’s Place is part of the Hinesville Downtown Historical Development Authority District, Gillard said.
The current facility had been used by the Liberty County Board of Education for more than 70 years as a school campus, known locally as Coastal Academy. However Gilliard said the school has been left to decay for the last 20 years and is desperately in need of immediate repair.
Hineshaw School qualifies and meets all criteria established by the National Register of Historic Places. Under Section F, Significance of Schools: Rosenwald Schools are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A (Education, Ethnic Heritage-Black), and Criterion C (Architecture). This eligibility is outlined in Attachments 1, 2, 3, and 4, National Park Service Form 10-900-Section F, Associated Property Types.
In 2002, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Rosenwald Schools on its 11 Most Endangered Places List.
A previous report on Hineshaw can be found here: https://coastalcourier.com/news/exhibit-highlight-significance-hineshaw-school/