The Jourdan River School
A forgotten Hancock County historic treasure has a chance at a new beginning, thanks to a dynamic young leader and the Mississippi Heritage Trust's "Most Endangered" program.
- by Rebecca Orfila, photos courtesy MHT
On October 22, 2015, the Jourdan River School was added to the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 2015 Top Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites in Mississippi, a program that serves to identify and champion the protection and restoration of important historical sites. In a recent press release, the Mississippi Heritage Trust (MHT) reported, “The Jourdan River School is one of few remaining African American schools in south Mississippi.”
As noted by MHT Executive Director Lolly Barnes, “The goal of the ‘10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi’ program is to raise awareness about the many threats facing our rich architectural heritage. By educating the public about the history of the Jourdan River School, we hope to find the resources to save this special place.”
Danin Benoit (firstname.lastname@example.org), a representative of Community Wakeup and Men and Women of God Ministry, the nominators of the school to the Most Endangered list, explained that school alumni Earllean Thompson Washington contacted him to advocate saving the old structure. The next step for the Jourdan River School is fundraising.
Community Wakeup and the Men and Women of God Ministry groups intend to raise funds to facilitate the renewal of the Jourdan River School, in addition to potential grant opportunities. Supporters hope to meet with school alumni in February of 2016 to hear their stories of the old school in the trees.
Backed by the enthusiasm of former students, Ruby V. Patterson and Velma Frederick, plus several local groups and individuals, Benoit hopes the school will be brought “back to light” and serve as a community center for the Kiln area.
Scenes from the Most Endangered Event on October 22nd