WEATHERFORD (CBS 11 NEWS) – By the time Raymond George of Weatherford became obsessed with the future of his childhood school—it had already fallen on hard times.
“The roof was caving in, all of the ceilings were falling down,” recalls George, “homeless people had come in and burned holes in the floor. It was a mess.”
But, the Mount Pleasant Colored School still had lessons to teach—not the least of which was an appreciation of progress: how far the community had come since the days when ‘colored’ was the kindest phrase used to refer to Black residents.
“That’s right!” exclaims George, now 77. “And I can tell you some other choice words, other than the ‘colored’ school,” he now recalls with a laugh.
But, on a serious note, he continued, “A lot of people don’t like the word ‘colored’. And I say, ‘hey, let’s not try to rewrite history. That is history. This school is history.”
So for more than a decade, George has worked to preserve that history — first buying the rundown property, then four years ago, with the help of local donors, painstakingly restoring it. He says his late wife, Bettye, was his inspiration to keep pushing forward… and there are no words now to express how it feels to see it restored.
When asked if he ever got in trouble in the two room school, he replied with a hearty laugh: “Every corner you see in this building? I stood in, for doing something wrong!”
But, what stands there now is just right: the glass paned double front doors, original hardwood floors and the gleaming wood walls. “I wanted it to be exactly like what I remember when I was going to school here… and it is.”
Later this month, the school will be handed over into the care of the City of Weatherford for use as a museum and meeting space… but, for Raymond George, it will always be the two-room school where he learned both survival and self-respect.
“You never forget your roots- I don’t care where you go or what you do– you need to remember where you came from.”
The school will be open for tours on Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. on the hour, until 4:00 p.m.
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