Black History Month Spotlight: School was refuge in segregated Waynesboro

This article by , mcalello@newsleader.com, is reprinted with permission from The News Leader.

THE WAYNESBORO STORY BEHIND THE FILM “ROSENWALD”

Five people gather at a former school in Waynesboro and sit down at a table in a room that more than six decades ago was a home economics classroom. A married couple who own businesses in Staunton and Waynesboro, a history professor from Mary Baldwin University, a building supervisor for Waynesboro Parks and Recreation and a retired business owner who now serves on the board of a historical society for the Port Republic community. From this building they have come and made their mark in the world.

Until the school closed in the mid-60s, this was a gathering place for young kids to come and learn. For those sitting around the table this fall afternoon the room is full of echoes: the echoes of children who would arrive in the early morning cold and hungry after walking to school no matter the weather – for there were no buses for the kids who lived in Maupintown; echoes of the teacher who would be waiting there, having arrived early to heat the room’s coal furnace and provide the kids with warm socks and breakfast. The wooden floors and furnace are long gone now. The echoes remain, for those who’ve been here before.