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Neely School Foundation receives $10,000 Preservation North Carolina Grant

On Oct. 10, the Historic Neely School Foundation was presented Preservation North Carolina’s 2014 Stedman Incentive Grant in the amount of $10,000 for the restoration of the Neely School. The award, funded by the Marian S. Covington Foundation, was established in 1975 to assist in the rescue of an endangered historically and architecturally significant property. This grant was part of Preservation North Carolina’s annual conference in Raleigh.

The Neely School was constructed in 1908 by Julius Erastus Neely, a farmer and preacher, and his wife, Katie Stokes McKenzie Neely, so that they could provide education for their seven children and for other children in the community. As the children of slaves, the Neelys had experienced both the severe deprivation of slavery and the hunger for an education that came with emancipation.

The simple one room school house, standing on family land, and administered by the family and with teachers provided by the Rowan County superintendent of public schools, offered the only opportunity for the children of the immediate community to attend a school.

The Historic Neely School Foundation was organized by grandchildren of Julius and Katie Neely in order to preserve their legacy and to share it with the public. Its location in an isolated area led to vandalism. The school has been moved to a location immediately in front of its future permanent home on the Neely Home Site.    

It will continue to be a physical reminder of educational advancement and achievement attained by African Americans in rural North Carolina and the struggle for the right to a quality education in the segregated south in the early 20th century.

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