Statesville’s Morningside School had its beginnings in the two-roomed Colored Free School, which opened in 1891. Maggie Sellars and Alma J. Carter shared teaching duties. The following year and additional room was added, and the instructional staff expanded to five. In 1915, a mysterious fire consumed the original building, and for the next six years children attended classes in nearby churches and fraternal halls. In 1921, a new eight-classroom facility on Green Street near Garfield opened, with Charles W. Foushee as principal. This building was known as Morningside School. Within two years, booming enrollment demanded expansion to seven elementary grades and two high school. Tenth and eleventh grades were added in 1928, and the school was accredited in 1930. After desegregation in 1965, Morningside became an elementary school and, in 1971, its name was changed to Alan D. Rutherford School.
These photographs were probably taken shortly before the Colored Free School burned down. In the first, my grandmother is second from right on the second row from the top. Her sister Launie Mae is first in the third row from the top. In the second photo, my grandmother is seated last on the third row from the top.
Text adapted from materials produced for Morningside Alumni Association — 2002 Reunion, Statesville NC, 31 August 2002. Photos in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.