Page 30 - Salem Magazine Spring 2016
P. 30

 Our Community
This current school year marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Carver School in Salem. Now known as G.W. Carver Elementary, the school
was originally located on six acres of land
on what was then named Water Street and
not South Broad. The school was home to African-American children from all corners
of Roanoke County in grades first through
twelfth until it closed in 1966 with the onset
of integration.
This year, the Salem School Division
and the City of Salem have marked this
significant anniversary by producing a full
length documentary that includes interviews with
25 different figures from the past who were either students, teachers, coaches or parents at the school.
The documentary, which is 66 minutes long in tribute to the final graduating class in 1966, debuted to a packed house in the Carver gym on February 29. Carver alumni traveled from several states and from just down the street to relive some of the memories they have of the school that positively
Carver alums Marylen Harmon and Reginald Bellinger, who traveled from Maryland, visit before the showing.
shaped so many black children in that time period.
In addition, the students at G.W. Carver turned back
the clock three days before the documentary aired and learned what school was like back in that
era thanks to a couple of firsthand accounts. Carver class of 1964 graduate Wayne Harris
and 1966 graduate Marylen Harmon, both of whom have their Doctorate degrees, enlightened the students on everything from segregation to discipline in the classroom.
The students also learned about music from the period and performed dances from
the 1950s and 1960s. They also created a virtual time capsule and got to see something
that isn’t used in schools any longer - a paddle. “I told the children that so many of the things we
cherished at the old school were just thrown away and literally put on the curb,” says Harmon. “Being able to preserve this part of Salem’s history means the world to me. I’m so proud that we’ve been able to take these keepsakes from the trash and turn them into treasures for future generations.”
The G.W. Carver Gym was packed for the documentary debut on the night of February 29.
        SPRING 2016 |

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