The topic of the historic Lee-Buckner school will be discussed Friday at the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County’s Porch Talks, and will include remembrances from two of its former students.
Located on Duplex Road in Spring Hill, the Lee-Buckner school is the last unrestored Rosenwald school in both Williamson and Davidson counties. Rosenwald schools were the result of a 1912 partnership between ex-slave and Tuskegee Institute graduate, Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
More than 3,500 schools, shops and teacher homes were built between 1917 and 1932 that would serve rural African-American children and their communities. The land on which the school currently resides will eventually be sold, which led to the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s purchase of the school in 2018.
The organization plans to relocate the school to the Franklin Grove campus in downtown Franklin and to restore it back to its former 1920s glory.
In addition to a panel of speakers consisting of two preservationists from the Heritage Society and a research assistant from Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation, a couple of students from the school are expected to share their experiences.
Franklin natives Roy Brown and Georgia Harris will speak to attendees at the 11 a.m. Porch Talk that will be held at the American Legion Post 215 Headquarters at 510 11th Ave. N., three doors north of the McLemore House Museum located in the Hard Bargain neighborhood. Brown is a retired policeman for the city of Franklin and Harris is a retired medical assistant and retired twice from the Franklin Special School District as a crossing guard after 19 years and 12 years from FSSD as a bus monitor.
“[Roy and Georgia] are vital to sharing the stories and history of the Lee–Buckner school for they attended the school as young students,” Alma McLemore, president of the African American Heritage Society, said in a press release.
“Both are Franklin natives who have been crucial, along with other students, in telling the history of our community’s historic treasure that is owned and being restored by the Heritage Foundation in their Franklin Grove development.”
Leading Friday’s Porch Talks will be Rachael Harrell Finch, senior director of Preservation, Education and Advocacy for the Heritage Foundation; Blake Wintory, director of preservation at the Heritage Foundation; and Amanda Floyd-Hamilton, who has entered the PhD program at MTSU and is doing her residency through the Heritage Foundation with a primary focus on the last remaining Rosenwald School in Williamson County and the cultural landscape of the Duplex community.
With the monthly Porch Talks series, professionals and representatives of historic preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture are invited to discuss, share their knowledge and expertise and their stories with the attendees.
Free tours, plenty of food, kids’ activities on tap for First Fridays
The McLemore House will be the site later Friday evening for the First Fridays series launched this year.
From 5-8 p.m., guests are encouraged to come for a free museum tour and to enjoy food by Moe Better BBQ and Fish, which is co-sponsoring the event along with the African American Heritage Society.
There will be barbecue, fish, brisket and much more. Music will come courtesy of DJ Train, and there will be a special art opportunity for the kids.
“This will introduce more people to the McLemore House Museum,” McLemore said of the Friday events.