If you’ve read my book Charlotte and the Twelve*, then you know how much I treasure the stories and history found in black schools. The school in that story is very similar to a beautiful, old building full of history and stories that community members in Buena Vista are working so hard to restore and preserve. The Buena Vista Colored School was the only school for African American children to attend grades 1-7 from the years 1892-1957, and this particular building was in use from 1914-1957 (the previous building was destroyed in a fire).
Even though I set both of my books, Steele Secrets* and Charlotte and the Twelve, in a town based on Buena Vista, which is where my father-in-law and husband were raised, it wasn’t until just a couple of months ago that I actually learned the rich history of the BV Colored School for the first time. It’s tucked up and out of town a bit and now sits surrounded by apartment buildings.
But it’s an absolutely beautiful structure – all-brick with wide-plank floors and the chalkboards still ready and waiting on the walls. You can get a great look around in the video for this news story.
I hope you’ll consider helping to spread the word and support this great work being down in this small mountain town here in Virginia. We need to preserve these places so that the full story of our history is told and remembered.