Group working to turn old Rockingham County schoolhouse into community center

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MADISON, N.C. -- From 1923 to 1950, the Madison Colored School, also known as the Virginia Scales Rosenwald School, educated African Americans from across Rockingham County.

When the school closed, it became a warehouse and later a community center. But in the 2000s, the building was condemned.

Madison resident Art Martin remembers when the school was the heart of the community. It hurts him to see the school in its current state of decay.

"It's not a good feeling but it's not anything that can't be corrected," Martin said.

Water damage and termites are eating away the ceilings, walls and floors. But Martin isn't discouraged.

"I am a dreamer. Every time I go by this place, I see something else it could be," Martin said.

Martin is leading the Madison Colored School/Charles Drew Alumni Association efforts in turning the old school house into a community center. The group now has plans they can share with the community. Drawings show space for meetings and classrooms for after-school learning. Nancy Parker believes western Rockingham County needs a building like this.

"We really don't have a large facility for meetings or gatherings. It's hard to find a large facility," Parker said.

Making the alumni association's dreams come true will be expensive. The group needs $1.2 million. Parker is hoping the new drawings will inspire grant providers and others to back the project that will benefit the entire community.

"I look for my friends, neighbors, kids, and grandkids. It's not a black thing. The whole community, black, white, Hispanic whatever will be helped," Parker said.

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