Historical marker honors Fort Mill school that served Black students during segregation

FORT MILL, S.C. — The Fort Mill History Museum dedicated a historical marker Monday for a school that served Black students for decades.

The George Fish School operated from 1926 through 1968 and served Black students until the end of segregation, which was when it became Fort Mill Junior High School.

The historic building no longer exists at the original site. It’s now a Duke Energy facility.

“One of the reasons that it is so important to keep this alive is that this is about history,” former student Constance Dunlap said. “It’s about education. It’s also about racial literacy.”

Dunlap attended George Fish school through the third grade.

She is one of several people who fought to preserve its history.

“It was closed around 1986,” Dunlap said. “It was sold and demolished. Unfortunately, the records were discarded around the time that it was sold. So, we had no information.”

The museum and the George Fish Alumni Monument Committee partnered Sunday and Monday for a two-day celebration of the George Fish School and the dedication of the historical marker located at its former site on Steele Street.

The school’s impact will continue with help from the historical designation.

“So, due to the efforts of a number of people, we have made sure the history stayed alive,” Dunlap said.

“The George Fish School Historical Marker proudly stands on the site where our school once stood during the era of segregation. This historical marker will ensure that the history of George Fish School, Julius Rosenwald, Booker T. Washington, and our great teachers, staff and students will be accessible to all,” said John L. Sanders III, former President of the George Fish School Alumni Monument Committee.

American businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald gave money to create schools for Black students during segregation.

More than 700,000 students got an education over four decades.

Former students hope to establish a George Fish school foundation and a database to connect with each other.

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