Charles Hodge Sr., one of the numerous speakers that afternoon, recalled fondly his days at the school.
“School days were schools days,” he said. “To us at that time most of them seemed to be rough days.
“But looking back on them at what was accomplished has caused us to look back on them as good days in the course of our lives.”
In February, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to restore the school as part of a $2 million donation to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lowe’s contribution will help restore 33 Rosenwald school buildings, like this one, in 11 states.
CBC’s Lott-Canada Facility is one of more than 450 of the Rosenwald schools in Texas and one of only 40 known to still be standing.
It is one of only a few still used as a center for education and community. It houses Customized and Continuing Education, Adult Basic Education/GED and English as a Second Language classes.
Hodge was grateful that the building is still being used to educate people in the community.
“To us or to me, the children who attended this school actually made the building seem to be a living part of this community,” Hodge said.
“Prevailing among us... was a can-do attitude.
“We needed to not only prove to others but to ourselves that we could achieve academic respect at a school that was looked upon as a school that would only produce a second-rate education.”
Lott-Canada School was built in the early 1930s as a school for black children.
Financial assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund of Chicago helped complete the brick schoolhouse with four classrooms and an auditorium. The school was named to honor Mose Lott and Allen Canada, carpenters who built the previous school.
The Lott-Canada School closed in 1964 as a result of desegregation, but the building continued to be a part of Beeville Independent School District. It was leased to Coastal Bend College in 2008.
Dr. Thomas Baynum, college president, praised the Alumni Association and college staff who have made the school what it has become.
Last year, members of the Lott-Canada Alumni Association created an exhibit in the school that details the building’s history and contains artifacts from the old school days donated by former students.
A state historical marker in front tells of the building’s significance to Texas history.
David Brown, architect, said, “I do believe buildings talk to us. I believe that it is the buildings that speak the loudest and have the most to say that should be saved.”
That voice, he said, was the voice of history that is contained within the walls of the historical school.