Canetuck Rosenwald School in Canetuck, NC (now Community Center)
(African American- built 1921-1922)
Canetuck is a classic two-teacher school built on the "Nashville Plan East or West Facing" (see:
Canetuck residents petitioned the school board in 1914 and 1915 for a school, but construction did not begin until the Rosenwald Fund aided their efforts in 1921. In that year the school board contracted J.W. Flynn to build the school for $2300. According to the Rosenwald Fund archive at Fisk U., the total cost of the Canetuck school was $2700. Of this amount the black community contributed $1,226.00, public funds used were $674, and the Rosenwald Fund contributed $800.
Lois Keith was first-grader at the Canetuck School in 1922, the year it opened. She went on to attend high school at the Pender County Training School in Rocky Point , then worked as a nanny in New York for decades. After she returned to Pender County, Ms. Keith led an effort to save the building and have it renovated as a community center in the 1970s.
A great lady who stayed active until she passed away in 2008, Ms. Keith served her community in many ways. Her daughter says that when Ms.Keith returned to Pender County, she helped many neighbors get grants to replace outhouses with indoor sanitary facilities. She was the driving force behind the Canetuck School being reinvented and renovated as a community center. Many gatherings and classes have been held there in the subsequent years.
Lois Keith (1916-2008)
Today, the Canetuck Rosenwald School is one of the best preserved Rosenwald schools in Pender County. Its exterior is unchanged, except for an access ramp that was added and a front corner that was walled in to create restrooms. Inside, the central partition with the movable blackboard that was typical of this design was removed. Paneling was put up during the renovation, but in one corner it is still possible to see the original paint that was chosen by school architects to reduce glare. the "Industrial Room" is now a kitchen area, and the cloak rooms have been turned into restrooms.
Pender Early College Students at the Canetuck Community Center
In spring, 2008, Claudia Stack and Kyle Holt led a ground of Pender Early College HS students in creating a short film about the history of the Canetuck school. Their film, "Seeing it in Color: Remembering the Canetuck Rosenwald School" was an official selection of the 2009 Cine Noir Film Festival. View the opening of "Seeing it in Color: Remembering the Canetuck Rosenwald School"
To donate, make checks payable to "Canetuck Community Center" and send to (please note that donations are NOT tax-deductible at this time):
Canetuck Community Center
P. O. Box 274
Currie, NC 28435