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This is a contributing entry for Cleveland County African American Heritage Trail and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
This structure was at one time the Cleveland High School which served the African American community of Shelby from 1895 until the mid-1960s when Cleveland County began to integrate its public schools. The school was open for sixth graders until 1977. Throughout this time the building underwent many changes as the African American population of East Shelby began to grow in the 1920s as jobs in local mills became more readily available.

Cleveland High School

Cleveland High School

Cleveland High School began as the Cleveland Training School which was a two-room schoolhouse that was constructed on this site to replace a one-room structure that was located behind Sunset Cemetery. The 1895 school was replaced in 1920, and that school burned in 1926. This led to the construction of a new school supported by the Rosenwald Fund in 1927. In 1935, additional classrooms were built to accommodate the growing community in East Shelby. As the community continued to grow, a new addition was completed in 1951 which added more classrooms, offices, and a cafeteria. An auditorium was also built at this time. In 1960, a gymnasium was constructed which was the final improvement made to the building. As the county began to integrate schools, the building was converted to a middle schools and then was closed in 1977.

Heather Fearnbach. "Cleveland County Training School: National Register of Historic Places Registration Form." March 18, 2016.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

National Park Service