The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

January 30, 2013

History of DuBois to be celebrated

MOUNT HOPE — A historic plaque from one of Fayette County’s all-black high schools is coming back into the spotlight after decades of obscurity.

A commemoration ceremony, historic presentation and celebration of the plaque’s re-emergence will be held Feb. 2 at DuBois on Main, a museum and community space in Mount Hope dedicated to the heritage of DuBois High School, which was open from 1919 to 1956.

Before it housed an integrated Mount Hope High School and before it emptied of students due to consolidation, the school building in East Mount Hope housed DuBois.

After integration, the plaque that identified the building as DuBois was covered over by a trophy case.

In the late 1960s, black students even staged a walk-out in protest, according to Jean Evansmore, the museum’s president.

Football players moved the trophy case to reveal the plaque, but it was quickly repositioned.

“Students going to that school did not know they were in what was DuBois High School. ... They would have seen no evidence of it,” says Evansmore.

A white student recently told her the story of seeing a group of black students who had walked out in protest standing outside the school one day. When he went downstairs for lunch, he saw the plaque because the case had been moved.

“Somebody organized it, and they followed through on the plan. I marvel at that. That’s great,” says Evansmore. “That’s people taking charge. Somebody’s got to step up to the plate.”

This act is similar to what Evansmore says was the intentional destruction of the previous DuBois building by parents and teachers who were frustrated by a lack of response from authorities to the need for a new building. The old school in Mount Hope burned in 1950.

While the new school was being built, students attended class in stores, temporary buildings and churches for three and a half years.

Evansmore expects some of those students to be in attendance at the Feb. 2 event, which will be held almost 59 years to the date that the new school opened on Feb. 1, 1954.

The ceremony and celebrations will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at the museum’s building at 116 Main St., Mount Hope.

Food and music from jazz pianist Nate Shelton, who recently donated a piano to DuBois on Main, are also planned.

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