Group Wants To Save Old School House

The Kiln Colored Public School was built for the black community in 1929. The two-room elementary school educated students from first through eighth grade.

Velma Frederick attended the school back in 1948.

"It was a small school, about 20 or 30 kids in the classroom," Frederick said. "My uncle was the principal. Dan Frederick, he taught all the studies. We had a lunch room that was sitting outside the class room where we had our lunch at."

The 60-year-old woman has fond memories of the school. She remembers sitting in the un-air conditioned school house all day. They got thirsty, but didn't have water fountains to offer relief.

"We didn't have running water there. We had a pump that pumped water to drink.

The school closed in 1955 when black students began attending Valena C. Jones Elementary in Bay St. Louis.

"It has some historical value in nature, that it was probably one of the first colored schools in this area," Ames Kergosien said.

Kergosien is the president of the Hancock Library foundation. The group wants move the building to property next to the Kiln Library and renovate it.

"I understand there is state and federal grant money available, and this would be an absolute must because the library foundation could not afford to do what it's going to take to completely move and restore this building," Kergosien said.

The Library Foundation will begin applying for grants this fall. The foundation will get a handle on what it will cost to renovate the Old Colored School in three weeks when the group meets with an building mover and architect.

By Al Showers

Online Producer Glenn Cummins