Pictured: Revonda Cosby, executive director of Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, speaks with stakeholders during the Nov. 14 community engagement session in Lithonia. Photo by Glenn L. Morgan/ocgnews.com
Shaping the future of DeKalb County’s first Black public school
LITHONIA—Dozens of people attended the Nov. 14 community engagement session, which was held at the site of the historic Bruce Street School ruins, DeKalb County’s first Black public school.
During the three-hour drop-in, stakeholders had a chance to tour the site and participate in activities designed to stimulate ideas on how the site may be preserved for future generations as a historic destination. Mother Nature provided a perfect fall day for the event with sunshine and mild temperatures.
The Bruce Street School, also called the Negro School and the Lithonia Colored School, was built in the late 1930s. The school’s first graduating high school class (around 1943) included three pupils. By 1968, the Bruce Street School was closed and a fire had destroyed much of the structure, leaving the granite part of the structure.
The Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance is leading the effort to preserve and revitalize the site and has retained Martin Rickles Studio, an Atlanta-based interdisciplinary design studio. l Team Arabia Mountain Heritage Area officials and team members from Martin Rickles were on hand on Sunday to answer questions and meet the community. Those who attended enjoyed lunch, music and had a chance to talk about memories of the school.
Organizers said that a second engagement session to gain public input will be held at the site in December. More details about the next session will be publicized later at ocgnews.com.
For more information about the project, please visit arabiaalliance.org/brucestreet.
Video By Glenn Morgan