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Glanzy and Jeanne Spain and Priscilla Walker show off the exhibit inside Boydton’s old Esso station that provides a glimpse of the history of West and East End High Schools, The Thyne Institute and Mecklenburg County Training School. Above, the photo diplay of the 1959 graduating class at West End High School. (Mike Moseley photo) / February 19, 2020
Members of the Historically Black Schools of Mecklenburg County group are working to keep the heritage of African American education alive with photos, artifacts and memorabilia from the time when black students faced discrimination at every turn.

Today, county residents can gain an appreciation for the educational struggles and triumphs of black students in the era of Jim Crow through exhibits that are now on display at 449 Madison Street in Boydton, the town’s old Esso station.

Glanzy and Jeanne Spain and Priscilla Walker gathered Tuesday at the site, where they showcased the many artifacts collected over the years from students who attended the historically black schools of Mecklenburg County — among them, Thyne Institute in Chase City, Mecklenburg County Training School in South Hill, and East and West End High Schools.

Their mission is to assemble and preserve for posterity the collection of artifacts, memorabilia and profiles from these schools.

For Black History Month in February, the Historically Black Schools of Mecklenburg County group opens a display of artifacts for public viewing. This year’s exhibit at 449 Street in Boydton is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Historically Black Schools of Mecklenburg County was formed in 2014 by alumni of East End and West End High Schools in South Hill and Skipwith, the old Thyne Institute, and the old Mecklenburg County Training School. In addition to collecting artifacts, the group is searching for a permanent facility to house and display the collection for the educational benefit for the public.

Members meet each month on the fourth Monday at the Mecklenburg County Public Library in Boydton. New members are welcome.

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