By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BURNSVILLE – Small work groups are slowly but surely making progress in preserving a piece of Burnsville’s history.
However, the Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society is seeking both memorabilia from the Burnsville Colored School and monetary donations to bring the project to completion.
“We want to accurately reflect the story of the school from the beginning to the end, and we’re really, really struggling for history,” said society president Cindy Nelson. “We would like the public’s help with returning any history, any memorabilia connected with that building.”
In July, the building was moved from its original site on property owned by the Hines family, whose member, Clara Hines McClusky, taught there for many years, to property near First American National Bank on U.S. Highway 72 which the bank donated last year.
“We’re renovating the school to use as a museum, emphasizing the history and culture it represents,” Nelson said. “We plan to feature exhibits that tell the stories of local rural African-American families and the children who attended these schools.”
The school is important to Burnsville, Tishomingo County and the state of Mississippi, she said, as it clearly speaks of education, ethnic heritage and religion in rural Tishomingo County.
“Its architecture offers a distinctive example of a one-room schoolhouse built for the education of African-American children,” Nelson said.
While a grant from the Appalachian Community Learning Project, member contributions, fundraisers and local businesses have helped with costs, all labor is being provided free of charge.
The historical society is soliciting original artifacts such as desks, antique furnishings, school books and lamps to bring back the air of authenticity. Monetary donations also are welcome.
“A Mississippi Historical Landmark sign costs $1,700, and that is not part of our budget,” Nelson said. “We want to create brochures and literature that can be displayed in Mississippi Welcome Centers inviting people to come visit this landmark.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to learn how to make a donation, call the Tishomingo County Historical and Genealogical Society at (662) 423-3500.