“Carver: The Heart of a Community” Chronicles the Experiences of Students and Staff in the Historic High School and Junior College Built for African Americans in Montgomery County
School System’s Administrative Building, Former Site of Carver High School and Junior College, Houses Multimedia Exhibit
“Carver: The Heart of a Community” focuses on the pivotal role of George Washington Carver High School and Junior College in the lives of African American students in Montgomery County. This multimedia exhibit about the school was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Carver Educational Services Center (CESC) in Rockville on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Among the attendees were teachers, administrators, and students who were part of the Carver community during the years the school was open for African American students in Montgomery County.
Carver opened in 1951 for African American students in a segregated county and closed just nine years later when the public school system completed its integration plan. The first high school built to standards on par with White schools in the county, Carver also was the home of the first junior college for African American students in the county.
The “Carver: The Heart of a Community” exhibit is on display in the lobby of CESC, which has housed the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) administrative offices since 1961, a year after the Carver school closed.
“This is a story of inspiration and courage,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “To those Carver staff and students who are here, and to others who could not be here, we thank you for providing us with a model from which we all can learn.”
The exhibit in the lobby of the Carver Center features personal stories and recollections of segregated education in the county. Seven large wall panels display historical information, as well as photographs and images of documents and artifacts from the private collections of former Carver staff members and students and other community members. Most of the images are on public display for the first time. A television monitor displays excerpts from videotaped oral histories that describe the experiences of former students at Carver and in education during segregation.
An accompanying 16-page booklet and interactive Web site, www.MCPScarverhistory.org, provide additional information and photographs to allow visitors to more fully comprehend the uniqueness of Carver. A curriculum on the Carver History Project for MCPS students is being developed to complement studies of local history and provide a firsthand view of the impact of both segregation and the difficult years of desegregation that followed.
“The establishment of Carver was the result of the strong and steadfast commitment in the African American community for a better education for their children,” said Dr. Frieda K. Lacey, deputy superintendent of schools. “It was a major step forward in the steady progress toward equal educational opportunities for African American students.”
The exhibit was developed by the Carver History Project Committee, comprising staff from MCPS, former Carver students and staff members, and two local authors of books on the education of African American students in Montgomery County. The committee was aided by the many Carver graduates and former staff members, as well as other community members, who provided information, interviews, documents, and photographs.
“This exhibit has added immeasurably to the great legacy of the Carver building,” said Dr. Charles Haughey, president of the Board of Education. "Generations to come will benefit from the recollections, experiences, and history that are chronicled here."
As an exciting outgrowth of the project, the tremendous community response has resulted in the creation of an extensive archive of photographs, documents, images of artifacts, and information on Carver. In an agreement with Peerless Rockville, which also contributed to the exhibit, this archive will be shared with the historical organization to help ensure the preservation and public availability of these valuable materials for use by persons conducting personal or scholarly research. Peerless Rockville is located at 29 Courthouse Square, Rockville.
Further information is available at the Carver History Web site at www.MCPSCarverHistory.org
. The video components from the exhibit will be distributed to MCPS social study teachers, made available on the Web site, and broadcast on MCPS Cable Channel 34 during the remainder of the month of May as follows:
Carver: The Heart of a Community
Tuesdays, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Thursdays, 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, 8 p.m.
George Washington Carver: The Namesake
Wednesdays, 12:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Thursdays, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30 a.m.