dubois history and mural project



post office box 528  wake forest, north carolina 27587


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About the DuBois History and Mural Project

Background: The W.E.B. DuBois School opened in 1926 in the African-American community in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  The school has long been an important part of the community.  In 1971, the school became integrated, and served as the campus of the Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle School. When that school outgrew the facility and moved to its present location on South Main Street in 1989, the DuBois campus became vacant.  For nearly a decade it lay abandoned.  Unwilling to see their beloved school falling into disrepair, the DuBois Alumni Association purchased the historic facility from the Wake County Public School System. Since then, that organization has been renovating the facility to serve as a community center.  They have joined forces with several groups to preserve the legacy of the school and celebrate its history. The Wake Forest Cultural Arts Association, the Wake Forest Historic Preservation Commission, and several Wake Forest schools worked together on the DuBois History and Mural Project.

DuBois Appreciation Day in Wake Forest, North Carolina-
The project culminated on March 27, 1999 with the all-day celebration.  The following was the schedule of events:

10:00-Noon, DuBois Center:  Family activities, games, sporting events, guided tours of campus
Noon-2:00, DuBois Center: Potluck Dinner, with musical entertainment
7:30, Wake Forest-Rolesville High School:  Dedication of DuBois Mural, followed by play Go Forth with Promise
Reception following play
Please see The Wake Weekly article about DuBois Day.



Play:Wake Forest-Rolesville High School Students in Helen Hunt's advanced eleventh grade English classes researched the history of the DuBois school by interviewing residents and building a timeline of events.  Along with playwright Nayo Watkins, they wrote the script for a play.  Their work included the social impact of the school on the Wake Forest community.  The main characters of the play are fictional.  Their story  included issues of race, class, integration, Supreme Court decisions, and much more. The play was directed by John Harris, and was presented at the celebration on March 27.

Mural: The mural project was headed by Durham artist Edie Cohn, and is a collaboration with Wake Forest-Rolesville High School teacher Beth Huffman's Advanced Art classes.  They have completed a mural which has been hung on the wall of the high school auditorium.  The mural includes a portrait of W.E.B.DuBois, and encompasses many activities and images of the community. The mural may eventually be moved to the DuBois Center.
This is the left side of the mural. 

     Other area schools have participated in the DuBois School project.  Students from Wake Forest Elementary have planted flowers on the campus, and the school helped videotape the events on March 27.  The Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle School has created and published this web site as a service to the project.  Students from the high school Jazz Band performed at the DuBois Center on March 27.

  Forum: Another activity of the DuBois History Project was the Forum on life in Wake Forest in the 1930's and 1940's.  Held on March 4, the forum moderator was Rev. Enoch Holloway.  Other panelists were Almarie Caudle, Leonard Dunn, Mavis Farrar, Clair Wall, Everett Mangum, and John Wooten.  The panelists shared memories of life in town from the point of view of the black community, the Wake Forest College, the Wake Crossroads community, the Cotton Mill Hill area, the Hurricanes community, the St. Matthew community, and the DuBois School. See The Wake Weekly for more information on the Forum.

Sponsors:  Funding for the DuBois History and Mural Project has come from grants and donations from many groups, including the North Carolina Arts Council, the Michael Warner and Elizabeth Craven Fund of theTriangle Community Foundation, two grants from United Arts of Wake County, and the Town of Wake Forest.  Local endorsers of the Project include the Wake Forest Garden Club, Rotary Club, Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, the Wake Forest Human Relations Council, and the Wake Forest College Birthplace.
 
 

Credits:  Photographs of the building and grove of trees at DuBois Center from Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle School Yearbook, 1983-84;  photographs of mural by Jeanne McBrayer, Wake Forest-Rolesville Middle School
Thanks to  The Wake Weekly for information about the DuBois History Project (Thursday, January 21, 1989) Forum (Thursday, March 11, 1989), and DuBois Day (April 1, 1999).
Additional information about the Dubois Center: The Wake Weekly archives August 29, 2002

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