Historical marker to be unveiled at West Luray Rec Center

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 9:48 PM EDT
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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - On Saturday, a historical marker will be unveiled at the West Luray Rec Center. It will highlight the building’s history as the Andrew Jackson School which was the only Black school in Luray during the era of segregation.

“We had petitioned the powers that be to have a historical marker, not only to show that this was the Andrew Jackson School where the minorities from this area went to school, but also it gives some details on the history, the struggles, and the perseverance of those that went to school here,” said Audre King, founder of the West Luray Rec Center.

The historical marker is part of the Rec Center’s more extensive plans to open a museum inside the building.

“That museum is going to tell the story of how Page County fits into what was going on in the early 1900s with separate but equal and what school and education looked like not just in Page County but across Virginia and how Page County fell into that,” said King.

The museum will include a historical timeline of the school with pictures and televisions that will play a documentary on the school’s history complete with first-hand accounts from people who attended the school.

“It’s been gratifying because people who have long wanted to do this and long wanted to have their story told will now have it broadcasted for the world to see and that’s amazing,” said King.

As plans for the museum progressed, King said what stuck with him was what he earned about the school’s namesake. Contrary to what he initially believed, the school was not named for former United States president Andrew Jackson, rather for a Black entrepreneur who lived in the area.

“If a school is named after you, you must have done something wonderful. But, we could not find out where he was buried. We couldn’t find any information. It was like a blank page, which goes to the reason for this museum, because for many Black people that are in Page County, their history is just a blank page and you have to dig to find it,” said King.

Just a few weeks ago, King said he was contacted by a woman in Fairfax County who said Jackson was her great uncle.

The marker will be unveiled Saturday, August 13 at 1 p.m.

“The community is going to be here. People that went to school here and thought that the story and the history of this place was long gone and likewise, they’re going to be able to share with people that never even knew this was a school and want to know that history. To bring all of us together, it’s going to be a joyous occasion,” said King.

King said while there isn’t a set timeline, he hopes the museum will be finished and open by November.

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