The Ashburn Colored School opened in 1892, a single-room schoolhouse that gave black children in Northern Virginia the opportunity to receive an education, 30 years after the Civil War ended in the capital of the Confederacy.
The school was horribly vandalized this weekend.
For the past two years, CNN reports, local students had tirelessly worked to convert the aging wooden structure into a museum.
Over the weekend, the shuttered schoolhouse was defaced by vandals who spray-painted swastikas, “White Power” signs, drawings of genitals and other derogatory messages on its facade.
Two years ago, students at the Loudoun School for the Gifted decided to raise $100,000 in an effort to open an educational museum that in part focused on the history of racial segregation in the school system. They had raised nearly $25,000, reports the outlet.
The Ashburn Old School Rehabilitation Facebook page posted a note after the incident. “We are very sad to report that there was vandalism at the Old School last night. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Sheriff's Department,” it read. “While we are heartbroken about this senseless act, please know that our students, volunteers, and community will work even harder to complete the dream of renovating the Ashburn Colored School.”
A former student of the Ashburn Colored School, Louise Winzor Thomas, wrote on the Loudoun School for the Gifted restoration page:
You are indeed doing great things for our family and others by reviving a legacy that had died and been long forgotten. Our family history unfolded before our very eyes by a group of extraordinary gifted students who noticed and invested their time in this boarded up old building with no one entering…no one leaving. I imagine the students were wondering where were the students who attended the school, a building that stayed silent for so many years but is still standing waiting to be noticed, and your students did just that. It was an exciting moment and honor for me when I entered this one-room school house after so many years, reliving so many things that took place in this one-room building. I remember walking so many miles with my older sister and brothers just trying to get to school on time. No school buses were allowed to pick up black students at that time. No matter what the weather was, we had to attend school. These were very dark times for my family and other families who attended this one-room school. Due to segregation, there was very limited education, limited teachers, and limited second hand books for students in the first thru eighth grade. One teacher taught each subject at least thirty minutes. As a young girl then until now I would never have imagined the impact of historic memories and hardships being brought alive. This was due to this group of amazing young gifted students who wanted to share this event and findings with the families who attended this one-room school and learn about its history. This should be shared and open to the general public and generations to come for a hands-on learning tool and being able to walk thru and imagine what it was like to stand in the shoes of the students that went there. This you won’t find in the history books, only in the memories of those who attended this one-room school and also those who take the time to take notice.
Authorities have offered up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those behind the vandalism.
“The vandalism to the Ashburn Old School is reprehensible and will not be tolerated here,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said.