Chalk Dust


Chalk Dust

The Chalk Dust Project

SCHOOL HISTORY – Graves County once was home to some 112 schools. “The Chalk Dust Project” was an initiative in the Graves County School District to chronicle the history of its schools. Interested individuals who had information concerning past and current schools were encouraged to attend community meetings throughout Graves County scheduled over a few weeks span. Debbie Smith and Kim Wheeler spearheaded the project.

“Did You Know there was a school called ‘Seven Sticks’ in the northern part of Graves County between Pottsville and Kansas? Did you know that in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were 112 Graves County Schools?” asks Debbie Smith, a former district Gifted and Talented teacher/coordinator. She and Mayfield-Graves County Community Education director Kim Wheeler spearheaded “The Chalk Dust Project: A History of Graves County Schools.” The two asked interested individuals with knowledge of current and former schools in the county to share their memories, photographs, and the like so that student-writers could record that history while it is still available. “We are looking for information that dates back to the earliest schools in the county to today’s consolidation and new building programs. Our ultimate goal is to have a book, which would be available to the community, of pictures and student-written stories about the schools,” Wheeler said. “All interested individuals are invited to attend a meeting at one of the local community schools or at a central campus where they can come and talk with students, teachers, and others about information these folks may have,” Wheeler continued. “We need pictures, stories, memorabilia, and contact names of others who may have more information.”
“We’ve already had tremendous interest expressed from people who have heard about our project and we hope to continue along those lines,” Smith concluded. “The more people who can attend our upcoming community meetings, the more comprehensive we can make this history of the Graves County Schools.”

History of the Schools in Graves County

Summer 2007
Summer 1925
The Interior of the Hickory Color School
The mission of the Chalk Dust Project is to create a lasting tribute to the history o the schools in Graves County for both students and the community. 
Before Cleanup
After Cleanup
 Julius Rosenwald was a proponent of education for African American students in the 1920’s. Through Rosenwald’s initiatives, schools across the south were financed. Now, after eighty-six years, many of these schools are no longer a part of the landscape of the south. In recent years, a new initiative has been started to save as many of these schools as possible. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has identified Rosenwald schools as endangered places.

Graves County Board of Education has discovered one of these schools still standing. To enhance the mission of the Chalk Dust Project, our goal is to move and restore this school building as a museum and learning center. Moving and restoring the school will be a costly project, but a chance to save a historic part of our heritage. Community volunteers and students will be the driving force in the restoration project. Your funding will make this a reality.
Kim Wheeler
1-270 674 or 328-4827

Debbie Smith
1-270 674 or 328-1567
The Plans for the Hickory Colored School
Map of Locations of Rosenwald Schools 
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