St. Stephen’s AME Church in Liberty, N.C., sits adjacent to the former Randolph High School, an African-American public school the powers that be closed in 1965. Even though Randolph High was new—less than 20 years old—and accredited with advanced science and math programs, the school board determined it should close and the black kids should be bussed to the white Liberty High School.
Liberty, population 2,668, is about 20 miles south of Burlington in Randolph County. It’s about 45 minutes west of Chapel Hill.
Although Randolph High has been designated a cultural heritage center, it is nonetheless dilapidated and vacant, with the roof of the gymnasium caving in and the windows of the school boarded up.
I helped a friend shoot a documentary today at St. Stephen’s, where members of the choir—who were also Randolph High graduates—sang the school song. It’s a lovely church, small and cozy, and between film shoots I grabbed two photos of the small moments inside.
The editor’s blog documents life in the Triangle and North Carolina in photos and stories.