The tribute was in the form of a historic marker placed on the corner of the property of Gray Health and Rehabilitation. The marker was funded by History & Heritage, donations from the facility, and the family of Pat Hungerford.
History & Heritage member Evelyn Simmons spoke at the Sept. 14 event and welcomed attendees. She gave a history of the education of black children in Jones County, beginning with children attending school in community churches or in one-room schools near the church. She said some teachers taught students in their homes.
Simmons said, in the City of Gray, black students in grades 1-5 attended classes at Mount Salem Baptist Church. Grades 6-9 attended classes at Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
She said there was no educational curriculum in Jones County for the students beyond the ninth grade until Gray Elementary and High School was constructed in 1931.
“The establishment of the school afforded black students the opportunity to further their educational experiences at a secondary level in their home county.”
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