MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - This is the Wechsler School. The first publicly funded, brick school for African-Americans in Mississippi. The school closed over 30 years ago, but that hasn't slowed down supporters from keeping this building's memory alive.
"Right now, the Wechsler School, the building itself is the last standing building that reflects the heritage of the African-American community here in Meridian," said Eugene Boger, board member of the Wechsler Foundation.
The 5th Annual Wechsler Day & Homecoming pulls together the community to bring awareness towards restoration efforts of the historic site. Some of the biggest events included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and an all-out parade, led by music star and Meridian native, Big K.R.I.T.
"Between playing basketball, we played football at the top. My grandmother was actually the person that used to hold the key for anybody that would do anything in the building. Like I literally grew up right across the street," said Big K.R.I.T.
K.R.I.T, whose real name is Justin Scott, says those childhood memories at Wechsler motivates him to inspire the next generation.
"So to be out here and see all these people, and to be celebrating this, and to come back to the community and show them that it don't matter how big you get out here. You got to bring it all back home and show people they can do whatever they want to do in their life. You just have to follow your dreams, stay positive, keep that negative energy away from you, keep that devil off you, and give back always," said Big K.R.I.T.
It was a day filled with fun and the hope that this community will continue to preserve this piece of history.
"Show your support. Show Wechsler your support, and we're going to have a good time," said event coordinator Verda Kelly-Jack.
Wechsler School was originally founded in 1894. In 1991 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014, the Wechsler Foundation was formed to renovate the building and provide service to the area.