Rosenwald legacy event, dinner set for July 1

By: By Chase Jordan -

Soon, a group of successful community members will be honored for being part of the heritage of Rosenwald Schools.

The Gwyn Fisher Turman Scholarship Fund will host its Second Annual Scholarship Fund Legacy Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 1 at the Charles E. Perry School, 705 Boone St., Roseboro. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

During the event, Rosenwald Era octogenarians (ages 80 to 89) will be recognized for their service. The legacy of Roseboro Colored High School and other Rosenwald Schools will be honored too.Saxophonist James Howard of Atlanta will provide entertainment.

Rubestene Fisher Potter, scholarship fund president, is looking forward to the upcoming event.

“We’re pleased to honor those on whose shoulders we stand,” Potter said.

The history of Rosenwald School goes back to the early 1900s when educator and civil rights activist Booker T. Washington became friends with Julius Rosenwald. As the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company used his money to build schools in the rural South for black children.

“These schools served as a beacon for light for these children in their educational journey,” Potter said.

More than 5,000 schools were built in 15 states. With more than 800, North Carolina had more than any other state. Sampson County has five: Garland, White Oak, Sampson Training, the Snow Hill School and Roseboro Colored School, which would become Charles E. Perry. Roseboro Colored School became a high school in 1935. It was named after Rev. Charles Ernest Perry in 1958.

“It’s been enlighten to learn about the educational journey of these honorees who lived through the Rosenwald Era and attended Rosenwald Schools,” Potter said.

She added that the vision, the leadership, dedication and generosity of people from Rosenwald Schools encouraged them to have the dinner. During the inaugural dinner last year, more than 30 honorees received recognition. That group included nonagenarians (ages 90-99) and centenarians (ages 100 and up).

“The people who we’ll honor are children of segregation, the Great Depression and the Great Migration,” Potter said. “We’re hopeful that this dinner will be known as the instrument for acknowledging ordinary individuals who have lived extraordinary lives.”

The Gwyn Fisher Turman Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 in honor of Turman, a 1968 graduate of Livingston College and retired New York City educator. It was noted that she dedicated to education. Funds will go towards helping children in Sampson County with their education.

Tickets for the dinner are now available for $25. Ads for the Legacy Souvenir Journal are also available for purchase. Purchases for tickets may be made online at

For more information about the Gwyn Fisher Turman Scholarship Fund, visit Potter may be reached at 919-638-1630 or by email at

Proceeds to benefit the Turman Scholarship

By Chase Jordan

2017 Legacy Honorees

Fred Douglas Best

Julia Boone

Bertha McNeil Buie

Christeen Moore Bullard

Sula Royal Butler

Brunell McLean Cromer

Tera Clyde Butler Culbreth

Flossie Anderson DeVane

Katie Earle Crumpler Freeman

Minnie Pearl Parker Freeman

Illa Butler Haire

David “June” Hargrove

Dorothy Melvin Herring

Willie James “W.J.” Howard

Pearlie McLamb

Marion Daisy McLaurin

Fletcher “Buddy” McLymore

Almare McNeil

Edwina Owens Melvin

Katie Simpson Melvin

Lula Belle Melvin Owens

Ethel Mae Freeman Newkirk

Samuel Lee Owens

Christel Pridgen Owens

Elizabeth Brown Phillips

Penelope Pugh

Rachel Beards Robinson

Cleo McLean Smith

Minnie Lorraine Warren Spates

Agnes Mckoy Tatum

Dr.Bertha Boykin Todd

Alberta Culbreth Wadsworth

Minora Faircloth Cooper Williams