Education First

opportunities for learning and growing

hjIn the early days of the Terra Cotta community, the children attended small rural schools in the Guilford County School system. All neighborhood children attended the segregated Terra Cotta school from grades one through six, which helped reinforce community ties. The impact of school reached beyond the walls of the schoolhouse and teachers were otherwise involved in the community, for example leading scout troops.

The Terra Cotta School elementary school was a Rosenwald School. Students attended junior high at J.C. Price and high school at James B. Dudley.

Rosenwald Schools

black schools in the segregated South

Julius Rosenwald was a prominent businessman in the rural South, as well as a philanthropist. After being introduced to William H. Baldwin and Booker T. Washington, he began to take interest in the plight of African-Americans during that time. Washington insisted that Mr. Rosenwald donate funds to improve school buildings and supply school books in black schools located in rural areas. He has been credited with the construction of more than 5,000 schools for the African-American communities that are now referred to as Rosenwald Schools.

These small rural schools served small communities both black and white, throughout rural North Carolina until funds for public education increased during the early 1900s and the school system expanded over the next three decades. However, white taxpayers were reluctant to fund black schools, and the use of scattered small schools continued in the rural black communities long after the establishment of modern educational facilities for rural white children. 

Larry Butler and Mae Ruth Brown discuss Terra Cotta Elementary school

From a Resident

Jacqueline Lyles remembers her experience going to high school in the 1940s, and how dedicated teachers helped her classmates go to college and pursue careers. Like most of her peers from the Terra Cotta Community, she attended Terra Cotta Elementary School, J.C. Price Junior High, and Dudley High School.

Moving Forward

consolidation and integration of public schools

James B. Dudley High School was opened in 1927 for black students. Previously, few students would’ve attended high school, and members of the Terra Cotta community worked at the factory, married, or moved away after they aged out of school. During the 1920s-30s, many small schools were consolidated into larger public schools. Until the 1960s, the school system was completely segregated. After the Brown vs. Board of Education decision was passed, schools in Greensboro began slowly integrating, but full integration only happened in 1971 through federal order. Greensboro was one of the last five cities in North Carolina to integrate the school system. Today, the area goes to Lindley Elementary School, Kiser Middle School, and Grimsley High School.

Go Back

What did kids growing up in Terra Cotta do for fun? Learn about neighborhood games, special events, and the Terra Cotta Hawks baseball team by clicking below.

Up Next

Find out why there are two churches in Terra Cotta, and explore the Terra Cotta cemetery.