ST. LOUIS – In this Black History Month, some folks are helping to preserve Missouri’s oldest African-American one-room schoolhouse.
In Chesterfield, Missouri, in Faust Park, they’ve been building a village filled with Missouri history.
“This building is from 1894,” Reverend Dr. Linda Settles said. “It’s the oldest African-American one-room schoolhouse in the state of Missouri. It’s called African Schoolhouse Number Four.”
Built by a group of African-American farmers, it originally stood off Wild Horse Creek Road. Through hard work and determination from a number of people, it was painstakingly taken apart piece by piece and put back together here, thanks to an African-American pastor in a white church.
“When you have a black pastor, every month is black history month, so they were behind it once they heard the story because, this is a piece of history. It’s black history, but black history is American history. So it is a piece of Chesterfield’s history that they saw fit to preserve.”
Settles got her congregation involved to help put this one room school house that once educated 20 children back together.
“It took us about a good six weeks to get it down,” Michaela Kornblum shared. “We took it down log by log, and it comes down from the top down, and it goes back from the bottom up.”
“When you stand on these grounds, even though it’s been moved to this area,” Settles explained. You just have a sense that you can feel the ancestors, so to speak, and they’re still speaking. I think they’re rejoicing that this building wasn’t torn down or destroyed, but this piece of American history is being preserved.”
Word spread about the good work, and soon Pastor Linda found herself on a plane to California to share her story on the Kelly Clarkson Show. Thursday at 3:00 p.m. on KPLR 11, you can hear how future generations will continue to learn about the past from the good work done here in the present.