New York Age, 1922
AI4US Raising Funds for Rapids
Hagar led the way.
Born a slave, Hagar grew up on Richard Oldfield’s plantation on the White Oak River. Her father, Luke Smith, rebelled against the wealthy cotton planter. He secretly gardened in the nearby woods.
He taught Hagar to read by slipping books from Oldfield’s library. He led clandestine prayer meetings. He also ran away many times. Hagar saw him maimed with a bullwhip yet still disappear back into the woods.
In 1863, after Union troops drove Confederate forces out of most coastal towns, Luke Smith and his wife, Melissa, led their children to freedom (Changing their names from Oldfield to Smith — casting off their slave name). To reach Union-occupied New Bern, they crossed two rivers and the Lakes Pocosin — now part of Croatan National Forest. It was a wilderness crawling with cottonmouths and alligators.
Hagar more than survived. She created her own EdTech startup. The Town of Pollocksville was incorporated in 1849. It had four schools in 1873 for white students, none for black students. Hagar stepped up, and stepped in!
By 1909, Grandma Hagar founded Garnett Training School. Colored students were educated here until integration allowed students to attend the white school in 1968. She freed me...and Generations of others! AI4US is picking up the torch where some of us are laying it down. Introducing — RAPIDS Cohorts
RAPIDS COHORT FUND
RAPIDS COHORT FUND
AI For US
Pollocksville, N.C.—The Garnett
Industrial School, established here by Mrs. Hagar A. Murrell, its present prinicipal is endeavoring to extend its work by the erection of a new building for classrooms, and a girls’ dormitory.
To do this, a campaign is being conducted to raise $25,000.
The school is now being operated under the Jones County Board of Education, as a part of the public school
System of District No. 1, Colored,Pollocksville Towsnship, as Mrs. Murrell and her husband, the Rev. D. W. Murrell,have turned over to the Board of Education, the present school property,Comprising six acres of fine farming land, the school building, now being used, and a block on Garnett Heights
for the erection of a new building. The county board has appropriated $1,000 for the work and on application has been filed with the Rosenwald Fund for additional assistance. Mrs.
Murrell continues as principal.
The board of trustees of the school Includes some of the most prominent white citizens of Jones county, with Rev. I. R. Phipps of the Presbyterian Church, chairman; Attorney R. P. Bender, secretary; H.A. Chadwick Recording secretary; and C. Barker,
County superintendent public Instruction.
The school work will embrace not only text books, but also actual
lessons in farm work, at the work bench, cook stove, sewing machine and laundry. The raising of this fund will provide
also for repairing and equipping the old building, and for improving the farm land. Contributions sent to Mrs. Murrell at Pollocksville, N.C., will be duly acknowledged. Clothing or
money will be acceptable.