Our Throwback Thursday photo on Nov. 1 was of students exiting Midland School, and written on the back is, “Midland School pupils leave school for the last time as school is abandoned.”
Dennis Stapleton emailed us and said, “I was looking at your Throwback Thursday pic of the Midland building and notation of it closing in 1952. If this is the Midland Building in Wilmington, I attended this building for kindergarten in 1955-56, so you can see it didn’t close until sometime after that. I remember when it closed but do not recall the year.
“It appears in the pic that a good percentage of the students exiting are African American, which says to me that it was possibly something else. My best friend in kindergarten was Billy Hart, who was African American, but he was the only one in my class. Hope this helps in some way, thanks.”
Mr. Stapleton is correct. We discovered that the school did close in 1952; however, it was soon re-opened as a kindergarten building.
According to the Brown Publishing Co. book “1920-1995 Commitment to Community: Clinton County” written by News Journal staff in 1995, the school on Grant Street in Wilmington “was built in 1884, became an all-city kindergarten in 1953 and was sold at public auction to the Irwin Auger Bit Co. in 1972.”
It continues, “Most African American children were assigned to the school.” In 1948, “Blacks, white, college students, Wilmington natives and outsiders formed the Committee to Abolish Segregation in the Wilmington School System.”
By September 1950 the school board voted to begin phasing out classes at Midland and integrating Wilmington schools.