SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An important school in Spartanburg is now being put on a local historic register.

The Cumming Street School was one of the first Black schools in the city of Spartanburg. And since city council voted to put it on a local historic register, its history will live on.

Preserving History

“This in particular is huge, because it is a part of our history that has either been ignored or has not been celebrated the way it should, in previous generations,” said Chris George, Communications Manager for the City of Spartanburg.

George said the school was a part of a neighborhood called “Back of the College” that used to exist.

“Really, the Cumming Street School is one of the few reminders of that neighborhood,” he said.

The school operated from 1926 until 1969.

“It was really crucial in that area, because before that, really any education that took place, took place in private homes, or in churches, and things like that,” said George.

The school served up to 1,000 children a year. One of those children is Nannie Jefferies, who attended 1st through 9th grade. She finished in 1969 and then went to Carver High School as schools became integrated.

“When we left Cumming Street, we were leaving our history there and then, when we were going to Carver, we were having to create another history,” said Jefferies.

With the city voting to put it on the local historic register, George said this means any exterior changes have to be approved by the Historic Architecture Review Board, and it cannot be torn down.

“So, it would have to look the way it did back then, use the materials that they used back then,” he said.

After the school was sold to Wofford College, Jefferies said she was worried.

“I just really was concerned that a lot of our rich history was going to be lost. So, when I heard it was going to be saved, I was super excited,” she said.

She said it’s in those halls where she learned who she was.

“We learned to dance and how to be proud of ourselves. To walk down the halls with your head up,” said Jefferies.

It’s where she said she learned her love of reading.

“Because I learned that if I read a book, I can travel the world. I can sit in a willow tree and read a book and be anywhere I wanted to be and Cumming Street did that for me,” she said.

Now, she hopes to take her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to learn about the history.

George said that Wofford currently doesn’t yet have any plans for the school.