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Abbeville School Unveils Offical Historic Marker

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


The former Abbeville school received an official plaque marking the site as a national historic site. Photo provided by Janice Carr

A historical marker was placed at the Gordon Community and Cultural Center campus – the two former schools that served the African American children in Abbeville before the integration of schools.

The former school buildings were designated a National Historical Site on June 19, 2019, and placed in the National Register of Historic Sites the following year.

The unveiling of the marker took place on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Photo provided by Janice Carr

On Saturday, the new historical marker was unveiled, marking the “Abbeville Colored School” – now named the Gordon Elementary School, buildings a national historic site.

The word “colored” for historical correctness, had to be used on the marker for historical correctness, said Janice Carr, who is on the Gordon Community and Cultural Center Board of Directors.

Carr raised the funds earlier this year by gathering donations and pledges for her to run in the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon. Those who donated also have their names on the marker.

“Although this was the last piece of the puzzle for that event, the work continues with the renovation of the Gordon Elementary School,” Carr said

The school campus is managed by the Gordon Community and Cultural Center which is currently conducting a $40,000 campaign to start the renovation project.

Families and/or individuals can purchase doors and/or windows and have their names engraved on a plaque and placed on the window and above the door.

The donors will be purchasing a part of history for $200 a window and $500 a door.

The journey

The original school was built in 1949 and opened to students in January 1950 for grades first through eighth.

Photo provided by Janice Carr

A second building was built a few years later for ninth through 12th grades. In the 1960s, a third building was built for grades first through sixth and the original building served as a middle school for seventh and eighth-grade students.

When schools were integrated in the late 1960s, the Abbeville School was closed and its students were transferred to the public schools in Oxford.

The school stood deserted for more than 40 years. In the 1970s, the state opened up a Head Start school in the newer of the three buildings.

It shut down years later and moved to Oxford where it is now the Mary Cathey Head Start. The second building that served as the high school was demolished in the 1980s.

In 2014, the doors were finally reopened to educate students with the formation of Abbeville School Educational Summer Enrichment Camp.

Contact Janice F Carr at 662-380-0662 or jfclegal@bellsouth.net.

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