Former Training School to get historical marker

  • The Hartwell Sun
    The Hartwell Sun

The Hart County Training School’s impact on local history will be officially recognized by the state.
The school, which now serves as the headquarters for Ninth District Opportunity, Inc., is receiving a Georgia Historical Marker at a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 500 N Richardson St. in Hartwell.
The Hart County Training School was the only school in Hart County for African Americans while schools were segregated. While the case of Brown vs. Board of Education ruled segregation in schools to be unconstitutional in 1954, the Hart County Training School didn’t close until 1971.
Nathaniel Clark, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian and 1963 graduate of the school, formed the Hart County Training School Historical Recognition Sponsor Group and has worked since 2012 to get the former school recognized as a Georgia historical site. A collaborative effort began in 2000, but was on pause for a period before rekindling in 2012, Clark said.  
The sponsor group is now a nonprofit and will continue to support the historic site through donations and sponsorships and to assure appropriate documentation on the training school is available in local libraries, Clark said. It will also focus efforts on improving the Rome community where the marker is located and contributing in a charitable way.
“Once it was closed in 1971, it was almost as if this school never existed. It faded into the background and a lot of information pertaining to it was destroyed and lost,” Clark said. “We are trying to get historical recognition for the school.”
The event will consist of the unveiling of the historical marker as well  as several speakers talking about the history of the school.
The historic recognition group worked with researchers at the University of Georgia to gather the information to strengthen the application by gathering historical documentation.
The historical markers can be found throughout Georgia and they share “the stories of our past in an easily identifiable and understandable format,” according to the Georgia Historical Society. By having the marker, the Hart County Training School is put on record in the state and nationally, according to Clark.
“It makes us feel recognized and that the school has been recognized for what it has offered to the Hart County community and also the state and beyond,” Clark said. “That’s something that makes us happy. Hopefully for not just the students in Hart County but also for other people in the county to recognize that the Hart County Training School has contributed in a significant way to the wellbeing of Hart County.”
Graduates from the school went on to become doctors, lawyers, public servants and community leaders, among other things.
“Our beloved Hart County Training School, a Rosenwald Consolidated Equalization African American School, will finally get the recognition it deserves,” Clark added.