Schoolhouse project presented

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Frances Wynn

Longtime educator Frances Wynn and Stephen Israel with the Lunenburg County Historical Society (LCHS) spoke about a project to renovate a schoolhouse in the Town of Kenbridge at the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday.

Wynn herself attended Oak Grove School, a one-room school for African-American students that was open until the mid-1900s. Wynn was educated at Oak Grove School until fourth grade, where she moved to Kenbridge Elementary School.

Wynn’s grandfather, Peter B. Winn, founded the school. The school was founded and built by black farmers and ministers in 1915. The school was built at the original site of Oak Grove Baptist Church.

At that time, there was no conveniently accessible education facilities for black children in the area.

Wynn, who has 45 years of experience in education and lives in Mount Vernon, New York, said she learned Psalm 23, the six things that the Lord hates, and learned how to run a meeting through the Junior League at Oak Grove School.

“All of the things that were basic to education, I learned in this one-room little schoolhouse,” Wynn said. “I will be forever grateful to this county, to the neighbors, to the people who set forth the kind of standards that we need in place today.”

The project to restore Oak Grove School was established by Wynn and Karen Wynn in 2015.

The schoolhouse remains standing at the Oak Grove Baptist Church property, though it’s currently fallen into disrepair.

“What more can we do except put up a little school like this as a reminder to people of how important it is to be educated,” Wynn said.

She said the school house would be particularly important for children, who would learn about African-American history, how valuable education is, and not to take education or history lightly.

“The better our nation is educated, the better we will be able to stand as a strong nation,” Wynn said. “It’s not about what you look like. It’s not about who you are. But it is about what you can do to contribute to this world.”

Stephen Israel with the LCHS also spoke. The initial proposal for the schoolhouse was to build it on the courthouse square.

Concerns about the runoff of the septic system in that area and an expansion of the county tax office were factors preventing the schoolhouse to be built in that location.

Hound’s Creek District Supervisor Alvester Edmonds suggested a lot located near Kenbridge Elementary School.

Gee echoed Edmond’s suggestion and said the schoolhouse could be placed near one of the schools’ properties in the county.

“That would be a wise choice for a school to be on a school property, and to be held there for the future, for the enduring future,” Gee said.

“We welcome the opportunity,” Israel said.