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      Two months after the official closing of RCTS, Hattie P. Clark, RCTS 5th grade teacher and a mother of the Black community, reflected on the impact of the decision to close the school.  She opened her reflections with, “I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell to Old Randolph – the Randolph County Training School.”  She said, “… it has become one of the greatest assets within this community as far as African American people are concerned.  It is all we ever had to call our own. It is the only building in Roanoke or Randolph County where we as a people felt the warmth of welcome. Our parents, fore-parents and other members of the African American community helped raise money to buy the land upon which the building now stands. Many donated hard-earned cash, when a dollar was really a dollar. Many never lived to see the fruit of their labor.  Now behind the walls of Old Randolph linger only the memories of the many years which we devoted to – silent memories of pleasure, silent memories not so pleasant.  Behind the silent walls linger the memories of beautiful proms, which thrilled the junior and senior classes year after year. Behind the walls of this building remain the silent memories of the sound of the huge drum of the RCTS Marching Band. Behind the walls, linger the memories of the many cold, chilly winter days when the boiler wouldn’t work, and the hot smoldering spring and fall days.  Gone are the walks up and down the aisles on the cement floors, causing calluses and blisters on our feet. Gone are the screams of little folk who saw the health nurse coming down the hall. Gone are the dedicated teachers who sat behind the desks and tried to help the slow child and make him or her a part of the class.  Gone, gone, gone; and with it go the memories of generations of students who passed through the Randolph County Training School.”

Source: The Roanoke Leader

Mrs. Clark later taught at Handley Elementary School in Roanoke after schools were integrated.
Photos courtesy of Clark Collection



The local newspaper reported RCTS was sold to John T. Shealey and H.T. "Lightning" Rosser for $54,000.00 Bidding against them was Jesse Terry of Terry Manufacturing Co. Terry would later purchase the property from Shealey and Rosser for an undetermined amount of money. The property became part of the Terry Mfg. Co; the buildings converted to textile manufacturing facilities. The main building (the 1948 school building) burned to the ground in the 1990s.