Developer plans to restore Bailey-Johnson School to honor history education for Black students – WSB-TV Channel 2

ALPHARETTA, Georgia – Chains on doors and planks above windows greet visitors to the old, long-abandoned Bailey-Johnson School in Alpharetta.

The planned renovation of the property at Kimball Bridge Road promises to preserve the site’s history of segregation and blacks.

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“The best thing they did was build a school, but they built it for the wrong reason: to keep us separate,” said Charles Grogan, a 1965 graduate of the once-black school.

Now 74 years old, Grogan has mixed emotions from the current state of the school. It closed in 1967 and then Fulton County schools used it as a technical facility.

“When they closed it, it was from the heart because many people believed in this school. It was our school, ”he said.

Commercial developer Bruce Fernald in partnership with the city of Alfareto and the local historical society plans to turn the school into office space and build another three-story office building on the site, while preserving the original buildings.

“The school and gym will look almost like they opened in 1950. Our plan is not to change the facade at all, ”Fernald said.

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The school first opened as “The Alpharetta Colored School” with a kindergarten for up to 12 classes. At the request of the first graduating class in 1953, the name was changed to Bailey-Johnson School in honor of a man who donated land to the school and a former slave who sought education in the Black Hundred.

The final sale and construction of the property is scheduled to begin in June. The redevelopment will include some graphics and galleries with old photos showing the history of the school. They are also still considering other ideas to help tell the history of the school and the era of segregation of the 1950s and 1960s.

Grogan says he wants to come back and visit, walk through the old halls and bring his 3-year-old great-granddaughter.

“Take her and show her where her great-grandfather studied,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

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To learn more about the school and its history, the Historical Society of Alfareto County and Old Milton is working with the historical societies of Roswell, Jones Creek and Milton to present a special Month of Black History. The program will study the history of black student education in North Fulton on Sunday, February 27 at 2pm at the United Methodist Church of St. James at 3000 Webb Bridge Road in Alfareto.

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