Friday, October 12, 2012

Roberson School, a Brief History and Legacy

TARBORO — Note: The Edgecombe County School Board, at its April 9, 2012 meeting, approved the closure of the Roberson Center for Educational Achievement. Final approval by the State Board of Education is expected. Future use of the building has not yet been determined.

The first Roberson School, a three-teacher wooden school, was located next to old Mayo Chapel Church, about half a mile northeast of Mayo Crossroads on NC 42. The school, like other African-American schools across the county, served a rural, low-wealth, and agarian population, mostly sharecroppers and small farmers.

The principals who served this first Roberson School included Sam. A. Gilliam (1938-39 to 1940-41), Powell Woodson (1941-42), and Louella W. Dickens (1942-43 to 1947-48).

In the late 1940s, on the recommendation of Superintendent E. D. Johnson, the Edgecombe County Board of Education decided that the smaller elementary schools in the county should be consolidated into more comprehensive elementary schools in order to stay abreast of progressive changes in education. Deterorating buildings, the need for new buildings, overcrowded classrooms, and anticipated cost savings were all factors that helped to persuade the Board to make this decision.

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