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Forever Fairview: Restoring and Preserving History

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There are places in this world that should not be forgotten.

A little one-room school building in Cave Spring is one such place. It may not boast any fancy architecture and it doesn’t have a long list of famous alumni. But at one time, this small building represented hope, education and a future for many African American children across several counties.

The Fairview School Symposium and Gala Weekend takes place Nov. 11-12 and organizers hope the event spurs donations and constributions from the community to help restore and preserve an important piece of local history.

Built circa 1924, the Fairview School building is one of the few remaining schools built specifically to provide educaiton to African American children in Georgia. Much of its history has been lost but the building remains an example of segregated education and the impact it had on the children and the surrounding communities at the time.

In 2011 the Georgia Trust designated it as a Place in Peril to help raise awarneess and support for its restoration and in August of this year, it was added to the Georgia Register of Historic Places.

Organizers of this year’s gala weekend are calling it “The Biggest Ticket in Town.” On Nov. 11, the weekend’s events kick off with a symposium at Berry College where area college students and faculty will explore the footprints of philanthropist Julius Rosenwald and educator Booker T. Washington who together would make it possible for poor black children across the South to obtain an education.

“This was a coming together of two giants,” said John Ware who is on the board of directors of the Fairview-ES Brown Heritage Corporation. “We hope the symposium with give people, especially students, a great appreciation of the work they did and the impact these schools had on the South and the country as a whole.”

Joyce Perdue-Smith, chairman of the corporation, said it’s fitting that the symposium be hosted at Berry College since at the same time Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald were building schools for African American children, Martha Berry bringing education to poor children as well.

“Martha Berry knew these men,” Perdue-Smith said. “We know that she visited some of these schools. We have evidence that she communicated with them. And they all had the same goal. They were trying to bring education to children who could not afford it and who didn’t have access to it.”

The weekend continues Nov. 12 with the rededication of the E.S. Brown School property in Cave Spring on Mill Street which is now a park. There will be a ribbon cutting and the rededication of the property.

In the evening, there will be a private patron’s party at the DeSoto Theatre which will be attended by several special guests including Peter Scoli, the grandson of Julius Rosenwald and Nettie Douglass, a descendant of both Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass.

The signature event of the weekend will take place after the patron’s cocktail hour. It will be a screening of the documentary “Rosenwald,” a documentary about the life of Julius Rosenwald and his friendship with Booker T. Washington — a friendship that would shape the future for many African Americans in the South.

Gala tickets are $75 each and can be purchased through oct. 31. Tickets are available at the following locations: The Last Stop Gift Shop and Dogwood Books in Rome as well as Blue Willow Gifts and and Consignments in Cave Spring.

Sponsorships by individuals, businesses and community groups can be made by emailing heritageweekend@yahoo.com or by calling 706-232-0975.

All proceeds will benefit the restoration and preservation of the Fairview School. Funds collected in previous years have been used to construct a canopy over the original roof of the school building pending stabilization of the building’s fragile foundation as well as the completion of an expanded Historic Preservation Plan detailing construction and landscape requirements for the entire campus. An archaeological excavation has been completed and will be presented at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in October.