1872 Neosho Colored School

Neosho, Missouri
Newton County

In the fall of 1872, the Neosho School Board bought a small house to utilize as a school for black students. The school served an average of 21 to 30 students a year, with the highest enrollment documented at 62 students. It was converted back to a private residence in 1891 and has remarkably remained intact over the ensuing decades, despite numerous modern additions which have since been removed. The school represents part of a large and continuous struggle for black Americans to capture a fundamental right of citizenship — access to education. The Neosho Colored School is also the first school attended by noted Missourian, Dr. George Washington Carver and provides a tangible historic resource directly connected to his life. In 2004 the building was donated to the Carver Birthplace Association (CBA) and over the last two decades they have made great strides in the preservation of the building, including structural stabilization and restoration of the exterior. A Historic Structure Report was prepared, approximating that 70 to 80% of the original fabric is intact, and recommends treatments for the remaining restoration work including historic paint analysis, repair of plaster and trim, encapsulation of lead paint, stabilization of the second floor and more. In order to achieve this massive undertaking, the Carver Birthplace Association applied for and was awarded a $70,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. While it may seem like the future of the school is bright, the project is a ticking clock. In order to succeed, the CBA must come up with matching funds and complete the work by March of 2025. It is hoped that listing the 1872 Neosho Colored School as a Place in Peril will help raise the much-needed matching funds that will ensure the restoration of the school and its future as a cultural heritage site interpreting not just the life of Dr. Carver, but the plight of African Americans in their struggle for equality. Donations to assist in the preservation of the 1872 Neosho Colored School can be made online at https://paypal.me/1872coloredschool?country.x=US&locale.x=en_US or mailed to the Carver Birthplace Association | 5646 Carver Road, Diamond, MO 64840.

1872 Neosho Colored School

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