Emporia, Va. Preservation Group Aided by U.Va. Architecture Students
U.Va. Architecture Professor And Students Present Design And Preservation Strategies For Greensville County African-American Educational Landmark
November 15, 2004 --
On Friday, Nov.19, the Citizens United to Preserve the Greensville County Training School will host 10 fourth-year students from the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. The students are traveling to Emporia, Va., to present design strategies for revitalization and preservation of the Training School site to members of the Citizens United group and local officials. The students’ proposals incorporate the comments and suggestions provided by the Citizens United alumni group at a preliminary presentation of the U.Va. students’ work in October.
The Training School was built in 1929 with funds provided by the Rosenwald School Fund, an organization that helped to build schools throughout the South for African Americans in the early part of the 20th century. This fall, the school became the subject of an undergraduate architectural design studio, led by U.Va. Architecture Professor Craig Barton. The course encourages students to examine the connections among architectural design, local history and community development.
In September, Barton and his students toured the site, studied the building and met with Citizens United members to learn firsthand about their experiences as students at the Training School. Since their initial visit, the U.Va. students have investigated a variety of ways to preserve and revitalize this important cultural landscape, which once served as the area’s school for African Americans and the focus of activities for the African-American community in Emporia and Greenville County. For the past five years, members of the preservation group have been working to raise funds to preserve the school, which is owned by Greensville County. The alumni group’s preliminary development plans for the project were approved earlier this month.
After their presentations, the U.Va. students will continue to work with Barton and the preservation group to develop ideas to preserve and revitalize the school and its site, so that the project can more effectively reflect the history of the area and its African-American community. The students have invited the Training School alumni to Charlottesville in December to see the final presentation of their projects.
Barton, the editor of the anthology “Sites of Memory: Perspectives on Race and Architecture” (2000 Princeton Architectural Press), is an authority on the preservation and interpretation of African-American cultural landmarks. He has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Park Service and the National Voting Rights Museum. His work in Emporia is supported by a grant from the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Center for African-American Studies and the University’s Center for the Study of Local Knowledge.
For presentation time and location, contact Frances Carter, Citizens United to Preserve the Greensville Training School, at (434) 348-0108.
Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298