DeKalb County

Plans underway to preserve historic Black school in DeKalb County

LITHONIA, Ga. — Leo Morton says there will always be a place in his heart for the very old building that still stands along Bruce Street in DeKalb County.

“It brings back memories, and it hurts to see the decay that has come,” Morton told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.

The Bruce Street school, first named the Lithonia Negro School, was built back in the segregated 1930s. It was the county’s first public school for Black students.

By 1968, the building was abandoned and over time it fell apart.

“When I step on these grounds, it feels like they’re talking to me. They’re whispering. I’m a daughter of the South,” Revonda Cosby said.


Cosby is with the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance. The group is in charge of the effort to preserve and restore the site and beautify the grounds -- inside and out.

Input from people who attended classes there are inspiring the plans, people like Morton.

He started at the school in 1950, and he told Petersen that he’ll never forget his teacher.

“One of the ones I thought cared a lot about us what Miss Rollins, my first-grade teacher. She kept us back for two years. She cared that much,” Morton said.

The preservation plan will be unveiled on Juneteenth.