Friday, November 23, 2007

Yerger Museum Fundraiser

I attended the fundraiser for the Henry C. Yerger Museum Tuesday evening. Governor Beebe was there to express his support for the museum. A good crowd attended the event. Here is a little history I found out about Mr. Yerger.

The first school for black children was in a one-room building on South Hazel Street that opened October 1, 1886, with Henry Clay Yerger, an African American, the only teacher. A few years later, Yerger built Shover Street School. Later, Yerger was instrumental in securing funding for his educational projects from the General Education Board, the Rosenwald Foundation, and Smith-Hughes and Slater Funds; in 1918, he built a dormitory to accommodate girls who wanted to attend high school. A teacher-training summer school that Yerger established in 1895 continued until 1935. It was one of three summer schools for black teachers in Arkansas; the others were in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Little Rock. On October 18, 1935, Yerger was honored for his fifty years of teaching with a two-day event, during which the high school was named Henry Clay Yerger High School.

The Yerger Middle School in Hope is named in his honor. He was clearly a pioneer committed to providing those who had been disenfranchised by the education system of the time a quality educational opportunity.

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