Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

Bethesda Schoolhouse

SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT

ON

The Bethesda Schoolhouse

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  1. Name and location of the property: The property known as the Bethesda Schoolhouse is located at 13129 Alexanderana Road in Huntersville, North Carolina.
  2. Name and address of the present owner of the property:         

Merle King & Wife, Elizabeth L. King

2509 Mallard Creek Church Road

Charlotte, N.C., 28262

  1. Representative photographs of the property: This report contains representative photographs of the property.
  2. Maps depicting the location of the property: This report contains a map depicting the location of the property.

 

  1. UTM coordinate: 17516402E  3913276N 
  2. Current deed book and tax parcel information for the property:

The Tax Parcel Number is of the property is 019-151-14.  The most recent reference to this property is recorded in Mecklenburg Deed Book 9879, Page 957.

  1. A brief historical sketch of the property: This report contains a brief historical sketch of the property.
  2. A brief architectural description of the property: This report contains a brief architectural description of the property.
  3. Documentation of why and in what ways the property meets criteria for designation set forth in N. C. G. S. 160A-400.5:
  4. Special significance in terms of its history, architecture, and/or cultural importance: The Commission judges that the property known as Bethesda Schoolhouse does possess special significance in terms of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The Commission bases its judgment on the following considerations:

1) The Bethesda Schoolhouse, a rural primary school for African Americans in Mecklenburg County, is significant as a rare surviving artifact of the early efforts by the county’s black residents to educate their children, a newly won privilege after the Civil War.

2) The Bethesda Schoolhouse is the oldest identified African American primary school in Mecklenburg County, and is significant as one of the county’s few surviving rural schoolhouses.

 

3) The Bethesda Schoolhouse is one of the earliest surviving non-residential African American buildings in the county, and is therefore important in understanding the broad patterns county’s history.

  1. Integrity of design, setting, workmanship, materials, feeling and/or association: The Commission contends that the physical and architectural description which is included in this report demonstrates that the Bethesda Schoolhouse meets this criterion.
  2. Ad Valorem tax appraisal: The Commission is aware that designation would allow the owner to apply for an automatic deferral of 50% of the Ad Valorem taxes on all or any portion of the property which becomes a designated “historic landmark.” The current total appraised value of the improvements is $700.00. The current appraised value of the lot is $23,800.00. The current total appraised value is $24,500.00. 
  3. Portion of property recommended for designation: The exterior of the building and the property associated with the tax parcel are recommended for historic designation.

Date of preparation of this report: December, 2003

Prepared by: Stewart Gray and Dr. Paula M. Stathakis

Historic Statement and Context

 

Although North Carolina had developed a progressive system for public education by the eve of the Civil War, there was no guarantee that schooling would be available to everyone. Many poor whites could not attend school either because there was no school located conveniently near them or because their parents resisted the idea of general education for various reasons, the most significant of which was they needed their children home working in the fields. The upper classes, accustomed to the advantages of literacy, were not always comfortable with the extension of this privilege and power to the lower classes. Slaves were never educated.[1] Prior to the Civil War it was illegal to educate slaves in every state except Tennessee. Consequently, by 1860, ninety per cent of the Southern adult black population was illiterate.[2] By the war’s end, freedmen held high hopes for the meaning of freedom, and understood an education was the necessary first step in acquiring political and economic parity with whites.

The public school system in place in North Carolina in the ante-bellum period was non-existent by the end of the Civil War. By this time, the state was so impoverished that there were no funds to develop another school system. During this period the state’s black and poor white population were schooled by external agencies, most notably The Freedmen’s Bureau. An 1867 issue of the Western Democrat discusses the establishment of Freedmen’s Bureau Schools in the state noting that in Mecklenburg County there was at least one in each township. In North Carolina, over 20,000 children were enrolled in 400 Freedmen’s Bureau schools.[3] According to contemporary reports, adults and children enthusiastically attended these schools, desperately eager to learn to read and write. Many of the elderly wanted to learn to read to be able to read the Bible; others fully appreciated that literacy was central to economic advancement. Although The Freedmen’s Bureau was poorly funded and ultimately dissolved, newly-freed African Americans often pitched in to raise funds to buy land, build schools, and to pay teachers. Local funding came from various sources such as Northern benevolent societies and state governments as well as from initiatives within the freed black community.[4]

In spite of the great enthusiasm within the black community for the promise of education and the potential for opportunity therein, Southern white society was unreceptive to the idea of educating the large population of former slaves who had been previously held in check by enforced ignorance. The Freedman’s Bureau was able to mitigate only some of the harsh realities of freedom in a hostile society. The agency provided relief and assistance to both blacks and poor whites who found themselves bereft of advocates in the bleak and unsettled post-war period. In addition to economic stress, politically and socially explosive issues such as extending citizenship to all blacks and voting rights to black men tested the foundation of the southern social order as well as the Bureau’s ability to maintain it. In 1865, Freedmen’s Bureau officials recorded that Mecklenburg County Courts would not recognize changes in the status of the black population, and that a magistrate had recently beaten a black man on the street.[5] 

The dissolution of the Freedmen’s Bureau made life all the more difficult for Southern blacks. Without the bureau they had no advocates to help protect their newly acquired rights. Although the new state constitution established separate schools for blacks, funding was up to the discretion of local county boards. In general, public opinion regarding education remained apathetic, and any impetus for change and improvement during the post reconstruction period came from politicians, not from grassroots pressures. By 1880, the average school term was only nine weeks and only one-third of the state’s school age children attended school. Illiteracy was more prevalent in 1880 than in 1860, although within the black community, literacy rates were higher than they had been in 1860. In spite of this small gain, the statistics for North Carolina were bleak. The state population in 1880 was 1,399,750 and 463,975 were illiterates over ten years of age. Three-fifths of all illiterates were black, and blacks accounted for one third of the total population.[6]

In the 1870s, Mecklenburg County was beginning to rebuild its school system within the terms of the demands of the post-war era. D.A. Tompkins’s History of Mecklenburg claims that by 1874, there were 34 black schools and 46 white schools in the county. The first graded school for blacks in Charlotte was in an old tobacco barn in First Ward, and was later replaced by Myers Street School.[7] In addition to the surviving examples of Rosenwald Schools, the Reed School in Steele Creek and the Bethesda Schoolhouse are the only surviving rural African American school houses in the county.

Tom Hanchett writes that by 1882 the city established its first graded schools, “with separate buildings for black children and white.”   The record of the establishment of rural schools is also imprecise. The state gave authority to the counties to operate schools, a plan that spared state funds, but gave free rein to county governance to determine where and how their limited funds were best spent. In some cases, the insufficient funding available to blacks was exhausted on building the schoolhouse leaving no money for teachers’ salaries.  Both black and white rural schools were often supported by contributions raised by local families.[8]

Even through the combined funding efforts of the county and local families, rural schoolhouses were generally little more than one-room cabins. Students walked to school, so schoolhouses enrolled as many who could get there on foot. Children who did not live within a reasonable walking distance to a school did not go to school. The terms were short and broken up so that children could help families with planting and harvesting, and black students’ school terms were shorter than that for white pupils. The average school term in North Carolina was 17 weeks for whites and 16.01 weeks for blacks. In addition to the difference of the school term, a greater proportion of whites than blacks were enrolled in school. In Mecklenburg County in 1903, nearly 70% of white school age children were enrolled in school, and nearly 60% of black school aged children were enrolled. These figures dropped for both groups in 1904 to 50% and 46% respectively.[9]

Public instruction seldom extended beyond the elementary grades for white children and never for blacks. The teachers, in many cases, were barely better educated than their students. State and federal oversight was practically nonexistent; and the quality of the buildings, classroom materials, and teachers was determined by the social and political whim of county authorities. It was standard practice to pay white teachers more than African American teachers. Funds were not evenly allotted to all schools. Affluent districts had good schools, but public resources rarely found their way into the impoverished areas. As most Southern rural areas were poor, the schools in poor locales tended to remain inadequate.[10]

Section 24 of the North Carolina School Law placed the appropriation of school funds under the control of the County Board of Education with only one restriction, the apportionment of these funds was to be made with an effort to provide equal term lengths for all schools under the board’s jurisdiction. In 1904, African American schools in North Carolina received $244,847.38 to pay teacher salaries, build schools and educate 221,545 children. In contrast, white schools received and spent $929,164.26 for the same purpose and to educate 462,639 students. The fact that blacks, one-third of the school population, received only one-fifth of the available funds constituted such an egregious disparity that the State Superintendent for Public Instruction castigated anyone who would complain that white tax dollars were put toward education for blacks:

 

…if any part of the taxes actually paid by individual white men ever reaches the Negro for school purposes, the amount is so small that the man who would begrudge it or complain about it ought to be ashamed of himself. In the face of these facts, any unprejudiced man must see that we are in no danger of giving the Negroes more than they are entitled by every dictate of justice, right, wisdom, humanity, and Christianity.[11]

 

Prospects for blacks and for poor whites improved somewhat in the late nineteenth century. During the 1880s and early 1890s, the county purchased a number of sites for black and white schools and probably provided some funds for construction, operating costs, and teacher salaries. In 1886 the Board of Aldermen acquired a lot in Second Ward from Col. W.R. Myers on which they built the two-story Myers Street Elementary School, a graded city school for African American children.[12]

Although educational opportunities for African Americans in Mecklenburg County by the turn of the century were inadequate compared to those available to whites, the county nonetheless subsidized black schools. The policy to support schools for both races was mandated in the state constitution. However, it was also part of a developing agenda that evolved to some extent under the leadership of Governor Charles B. Aycock and owed some of its advancement to the climate of dynamic economic growth experienced by and encouraged in the county in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Governor Aycock [1901-1905] was inspired by the abysmal fact that the state’s system of public education had steadily declined since the 1870s and that less than half of the state’s school age children attended school on a regular basis. An advocate of universal education, Aycock believed that education was an essential investment in the future. He argued that educated people were better workers, better citizens, better parents, and more prosperous than uneducated people. Under Aycock’s direction, increased and more efficient funding was appropriated by the General Assembly in an effort to raise standards in poor counties; high school education became more prevalent in rural and urban areas; and the concept of consolidating rural school districts was introduced. Part of Aycock’s underlying agenda was to provide equal educational opportunities for boys and girls, but primarily for boys who could grow up to become qualified voters; a privilege not available by law to women or in practice to African American men.

By the 1890s, racial segregation laws and disfranchisement practices effectively guided Mecklenburg’s social and political patterns, and segregated schools fell neatly into this new standard. Providing a limited education that was touted as separate but equal for the improvement of the local African American population was part of the important civic task of promoting the county’s significant assets, such as productive agriculture, a thriving textile industry, an educated population, and a law-abiding, peaceful citizenry both in the black and white communities. Local “boosters” were not interested in equal opportunities, but they understood that newcomers with capital would only invest it in places that were socially stable as well as economically viable. By the turn of the century, the majority of the county’s African American population was rural and had a limited education, but a strong middle and professional class was a highly visible part of the city population. Charlotte was promoted as a town where the races peacefully co-existed and where “the Negro is welcomed in the pursuits to which he is best adapted, and there is nothing of the race prejudice felt elsewhere and he is given every opportunity to better his own condition and that of his children.”[13]

In spite of Charlotte’s growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Mecklenburg retained a largely rural character until after the Second World War. By the close of the nineteenth century, Mecklenburg County led the state in cotton production; but although Mecklenburg County produced a significant amount of cotton, its dependency on the crop doomed the local agricultural economy to stagnation and deterioration. By 1920, American agriculture began a steady decline that was exacerbated by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Southern farmers who were dedicated to cotton production and mid-western farmers who were dedicated to wheat production had no recourse when the international market prices of these commodities plummeted in the 1920s and 1930s. The overarching response to the crisis was overproduction, which worsened the situation, leading to increased foreclosures and an increase in tenancy. Like many of their southern counterparts, Mecklenburg farmers were hampered by inefficient methods, such as one or two crop agriculture, and by crop liens. The consequences of this system were that the number of land owners, both white and African American, decreased over time; and that tenancy increased, swelling the ranks of poor rural whites and blacks. Rural African Americans already tended to be poorer than the majority of rural whites and more likely to be landless and bound to some form of tenancy.

Of the 4344 farmers identified in the 1920 Census of Agriculture for Mecklenburg County, 1647 were African American, and of these only 150 were farm owners, and 1497 were tenants, compared to the 2690 farms operated by whites, of which 1492 were owner-operated, and 1184 were operated by white tenants. This data not only illustrates the vast economic gaps between black and white farmers in the county in the early part of the century, and it also raises the perplexing question of why there were so few African American farmers of any type when the rural African American population in Mecklenburg in 1920 numbered over 12,000. Somewhere scattered around the county in unincorporated areas and in the small towns outside of Charlotte were approximately 10,000 African Americans, and slightly over half of them were over the age of twenty-one. They were likely employed as domestics, as skilled and unskilled workers in the small towns, on the railroad, and in processing jobs affiliated with agriculture such as cotton ginning.[14] An education was often the ticket to a job that paid cash wages and permitted some degree of social and economic mobility, and the only means for African Americans and poor whites to detach from the debilitating cycle of sharecropping and dependency.

The Bethesda Schoolhouse

 

In light of the inequities inherent in the public school system both in the state and in the county, rural schoolhouses that were accessible to either blacks or whites were invaluable assets in the development of the county’s children. The lucky ones who lived within a reasonable walking distance to a school could at least acquire a fundamental education, and this was usually the only hope of breaking out of the dead end of tenancy and rural poverty.

The Bethesda Schoolhouse was one small remedy to the pernicious effects of ignorance, poverty and dependency. Located at 13129 Alexanderana Road in the northern part of the county, Bethesda is the oldest extant school building for African Americans in the county. Officially designated as the Bethesda Colored School of Mallard Creek Township, School District # 3, it served the African American community of Mallard Creek  and Croft from approximately 1899 until the 1940s when it was closed as part of the state program of school consolidation.[15]  Historian Matthew Thomas, a UNCC graduate student, notes its significance as “the last remaining archetype of Mecklenburg’s rural black schoolhouses that were so important to advancing education among the county’s black farming communities.” Thomas found reference to the school in County deed records in which the one-acre of property where the school is situated was acquired by the County Board of Education under the directorship of W. M. Anderson, John McDowell and M. A. Alexander from Mr. Burwell Cashion on December 4, 1904 for the sum of fifty dollars.[16] Thus, Thomas contends the Bethesda schoolhouse pre-dates the Julius Rosenwald schools by approximately fifteen years. This information underscores the significance of the schoolhouse as an immensely important historical find for the County. To further illustrate the meaning of Bethesda’s survival into the twenty-first century, Thomas offers the evidence of what the county has lost in terms of rural African American schoolhouses, using a map of Mecklenburg, circa 1911, produced by civil engineers C. A. and J. B. Spratt which enumerates fifty-nine colored schools within the county’s jurisdiction. The Bethesda Schoolhouse is the last one known to remain in existence.[17]

                Mr. Merle King, owner of the building, believes it was built in 1899. Popular local legend is that the school was constructed in either 1898 or 1899 by a prosperous and well-liked black farmer of the area named John Young.[18]  A “Colored School No. 4” in Mallard Creek is listed in the Operating Budget for the Mecklenburg County Schools in 1899, which may have been the Bethesda School. Its allotted operating expenses for the year were $80.00.[19]

John Young’s actual role in the establishment of the school is vague, but his involvement with the schoolhouse is clearly a matter of record, and local accounts seem to tie him firmly to the establishment of the school. History shows that it was not uncommon for local community leaders to direct the promotion of necessary social improvements such as education. Young was listed in the Mecklenburg County Board of Education’s Operating Budget dated 1909-11, which authorized expenses paid to him for the annual delivery of firewood and for various repairs to the school. The Budget Records also show a Colored School in District #3, Mallard Creek, called the Youngsville School. This school had 46 students taught by two teachers, Lula Wood who instructed grades 1-3 and earned $55.00 a month, and Sarah Byers, a certified elementary teacher who was responsible for grades 4-7 and earned $70.00 a month.[20]

According to Mrs. Kathleen Harris, her husband Robert Harris attended the Bethesda School from around 1922 until 1930.  Mrs. Lucile Henderson Alison attended the school for two years starting in 1937, when she was in the second-grade.  At that point she recalls that it was a two-room building, heated by a woodstove. The daily routine at Bethesda would have been similar to that in the several other rural schoolhouses in the county. Louis Caldwell, who attended the Lawing School in Shuffletown, recalled that in the winter, the schoolhouse would be horribly cold and the first children to arrive were responsible for building a fire in the old coal stove.[21] All grades would have been taught in the same room, and the lives of the students revolved around the patterns and demands of the local agrarian economy.

According to Mrs. Harris the school was no longer in operation in the 1940’s, and county records show that the Board of Education sold the property to John and Bertie Young on July 10, 1946.[23]  Between 1938 and 1952, many small Mecklenburg County schools, both black and white, were closed as part of a statewide push to consolidate students into larger, more modern schools.  Even after the building had outlived its use as a school, it remained a focus for community social gatherings, with annual picnics held there until the 1960s.[22]    Long-time resident Robert Dixon, who lives a short distance from the school, reminisced that Mr. Young and his family hosted fish-fries at the school for as long back as he could remember and that local people, both black and white, would come from miles around to socialize there. Silas Davis remembered that the immensely popular fish fries started on the last Wednesday of August and lasted until Saturday night. The fish were gutted and “fried with the head, tail, bones and all” and were then “just slapped between two pieces of bread.” Mr. Dixon and Mr. Davis both believed that the fish fries ended sometime in the mid nineteen-sixties.[24]

 Lax county funding forced African Americans to find alternative sources of money from their own communities. There are several examples of this in Mecklenburg County.  Fish fries were not only popular ways to gather the community together for relaxed socializing, but were often used as fund raisers for local schools and community centers. For example, the Crestdale Community,  the historic African American neighborhood in Matthews, raised necessary funds to support its community school by having fish fries, and by assessing the parents $25.00. Farmer and neighborhood leader Logan Houston of Davidson organized many fundraisers selling ice cream, made with milk from his own cows to support the Davidson Colored School.  

The resourcefulness and determination of local African American community leaders to maintain their small schools in the face of municipal indifference is a powerful statement of their understanding of the implications of the significance of educating their children. Long denied the benefits of education, African Americans clung purposefully to the promises made possible by literacy. The unassuming rural schoolhouses such as Bethesda were able to provide a modicum of education to the surrounding population, and this basic schooling was but a  step in the improvements in education available to future generations. The small Bethesda Schoolhouse made possible by those who worked to build and support it helped improve the lives of the African American children of Mallard Creek, the descendants of slaves and the parents of children who would enjoy even greater educational opportunities. 

Architectural Description

The Bethesda Schoolhouse is a one-story, cross-gabled, frame building situated on a one-acre lot in northern Mecklenburg County, in the Croft Community south of the town of Huntersville.  The setting is rural.   The schoolhouse sits near the intersection of Alexanderana and Eastfield Roads.  Alexanderana runs north-south, 140’ west of the schoolhouse, and Eastfield runs roughly east-west, 65’ south of the building.  The site’s gently rolling landscape slopes down from a north-south Norfolk-Southern Railroad line that runs 80’ to the east of the schoolhouse.  Large open fallow farm fields extend eastward from the railroad tracks.  A modern metal church building neighbors the Bethesda School to the north, and the Maxwell House, a large 19th century farmhouse, is located about one hundred yards to the south across Eastfield Road. 

Now a T-plan building, the Bethesda Schoolhouse features two-types of metal roofing and a distinctive row of five tall windows typical in school buildings.  The original building and the later addition were erected on brick piers that are now infilled with both bricks and cast concrete blocks.   The roughly 40’ by 20’ side-gabled original section of the building dates from around 1900.  Many of the building’s construction details help to date the building.  The standing seam metal roof on the original section is typical for late 19th century and early 20th century construction.  Framing is rough-sawn with cut nails visible in the framing and the siding.  While cut nail use in siding continued well into the 20th century, cut nail use in framing usually indicates pre-1900 construction. 

Original brick pier with in-fill curtain foundation walls

Originally the side-gabled schoolhouse was oriented south with the entrance, now boarded-up, near the building’s southwest corner.  Though much of the original façade is now obscured by an early 20th century addition, original paired windows close to the southeast corner survive.  The rear elevation of the principal section appears to be unaltered and features a row of five, tall six-over-six double-hung windows that are now covered with plywood.  The west elevation contains another tall six-over-six double-hung window centered in the wall, and a second, shorter window that was added later to accommodate a bathroom.  The east elevation, which faces the nearby railroad track, is blank.

Extending from the south elevation of the principal section is a substantial gabled wing that appears to date from the early years of the 20th century.  The wing’s steeply pitched roof is covered with metal shingles, a typical late 19th and early 20th century roofing material.  With the addition of the wing, the schoolhouse’s orientation shifted to the west.  The wing’s west elevation features a shed-roofed porch protecting a five-panel door, and two tall six-over-six double-hung windows.  Like the principal section, the east elevation of the wing is blank.   The gabled south elevation is two bays wide, containing two windows and a louvered vent in the gable.  Patched-in siding indicates that some of the wing’s windows were originally taller, like those on the principal section.

The schoolhouse features small interior brick flues in both sections, and a block flue was added to the corner where the wing attaches on the east side of the original school building.  While basically intact, the building’s exterior is in poor condition, with some deterioration and loss of siding, and many damaged window sashes. 

The interior of the original building most likely consisted of a single large classroom, lit by natural light coming from the schoolhouse’s many windows.  The early 20th century wing addition also served as a classroom.  The unadorned utilitarian design of the building’s exterior was reflected in the interior.  The trim around the doors and tall windows is simple square stock.  Walls and high ceilings were covered with tongue-and-groove beaded-board. When constructed, electricity would not have been available and original plumbing was limited to the hand pump still located to the northwest of the schoolhouse.

The schoolhouse’s interior reveals a lowered ceiling and  beaded-board behind the wall boards.         A beaded-board ceiling is intact above a later ceiling

The interior is now in poor condition, and has been divided into several smaller rooms.  The high ceiling has been lowered with framing and wallboard, supported by stud walls that divide the space and obscure the original walls.   It appears that some, if not all, of the original walls and ceilings are intact behind the newer interior walls.

The Bethesda Schoolhouse has retained a good degree of integrity, meaning that many of the historic building materials and features of the design of the building have survived.  While a major addition was constructed, it appears that the addition is of sufficient age and appears to have the requisite integrity to contribute to the significance of the property.  The building’s condition is poor, and if the deterioration of the building is allowed to continue, the integrity and the significance of the building could be negatively affected.

Architectural Context

A survey of Mecklenburg County’s African American historic resources conducted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission in 2001-2002 identified only three pre-1900 rural building with structural integrity.  While more 20th century African American buildings were identified, most rural sites are now facing either neglect or pressure from development.  The vast majority of historic African American buildings in the county are homes, and all surviving commercial and institutional buildings are very important in understanding how the black communities in the county functioned.  While several Rosenwald School, such as the Huntersville Colored School, Billingsville, and McClintock, have been preserved and are relatively similar in size, setting, and construction, none is as old as the Bethesda Schoolhouse.

 Croft Schoolhouse, 1890  Rural Hill School, 1890

All surviving rural 19th century and early 20th century school buildings in Mecklenburg County are so rare that any school building with a good degree of integrity in terms of setting, design, and/or material is a significant artifact, important for understanding the history of Mecklenburg County, which was largely rural until the Second World War.  While both the Bethesda Schoolhouse and the nearby 1890 Croft Schoolhouse are simple utilitarian structures, the much larger size of the Croft Schoolhouse may demonstrate the advantages offered white students.   Another northern Mecklenburg white schoolhouse, the 1890 Rural Hill School is similar in size and design to the original section of the Bethesda Schoolhouse. 

 

 

Bibliography for the Architectural Description:

Edwards, Jay D., and Wells, Tom. Historic Louisiana Nails: Aids to The Dating of Old Buildings.  Baton Rogue, Geoscience Publications, 1993.

 

Gray, Stewart. “Early 20th Century Barns in North Carolina’s Southern Piedmont” Preservation Brief , Graduate Project, Department of Interior Architecture, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2001.

 

Jordan, Steve.  “Metal Shingles: Roofing in Victorian stamped steel and copper is still practical today” The Old House Journal, Restore Media, LLC, 2003.

[1] William S. Powell, North Carolina Through Four Centuries, [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989, pp, 418-419.

[2] Eric Foner, Reconstruction. America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877,  (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), p. 96.

[3] Janette Greenwood, The Black Experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 1850-1920, Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission, 1984, p. 3-31; Powell, North Carolina, p. 419.

[4] Foner, Reconstruction, pp. 97-98.

[5] Paul D. Escott, Many Excellent People. Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900, [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985], p. 129.

[6] Powell, North Carolina,p. 420.

[7] Janette Greenwood, The Black Experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 1850-1920, 3-31.

[8] Tom Hanchett, The McClintock Rosenwald School and the Newell Rosenwald School, 1987.

[9] Ibid; Biennial Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent for Public Instruction of North Carolina to Governor Charles B. Aycock  fo rthe Schoalstic Years 1902-1903, 1903-1904, [Raleigh, N.C.: E. M. Uzzell & Co., State Printers &Binders, 1904], pp. 16-17, 36, 96-97.

[10] Hanchett, The McClintock and Newell Rosenwald Schools.

[11] Biennial Report and Recommendations of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, pp. 73, 79.

[12] Ibid; Greenwood, The Black Experience in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 3-31.

[13] The Greater Charlotte Club, Charlotte, [Charlotte, N.C.: 1913] “Charlotte’s Negroes.”

[14] U.S. Census of Agriculture, 1920; U.S. Census of the Population, 1920.

[15] Matthew Thomas, “Historical Sketch of the Bethesda Schoolhouse” 2003; Stewart Gray, “Bethesda Schoolhouse” 2002, survey file from The Survey of African American Buildings and Sites, Mecklenburg County 2002.

[16] Deed Book 195, P. 500, 29 April, 1905.

[17] Thomas, “Historical Sketch of the Bethesda Schoolhouse.”

[18] Thomas, “Historical Sketch”; Gray, “Bethesda Schoolhouse.”

[19] Operating Budget 1899, Mecklenburg Schools. Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

[20] Thomas, “Historical Sketch”; Mecklenburg County Board of Education Operating Budgets.

[21] Survey of  African American Buildings and Sites, 2002.

[22] Stewart Gray, “Bethesda Schoolhouse.”

[23] Deed Book 1200, P. 31, 10 July, 1946.

[24] Thomas, “Historical Sketch”; Gray, “Bethesda Schoolhouse.”