MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - As Black History Month kicks off, one organization is striving to preserve a piece of history within the queen city. Its presence helped shape the lives of many through Meridian.
Community leaders and citizens alike gathered Saturday morning for the Red Tail black history kick off brunch on behalf of the Wechsler foundation.
The Wechsler Foundation's main goal is to move forward with renovation to the historic Wechsler building and to bring the red tail traveling exhibit to Meridian.
The Wechsler Foundation President Edward Lynch says this building's importance extends far beyond the borders of the Queen City.
"It's very important when you go back and look at the history of Wechsler it has affected so many people not only around meridian, but as far away as Tennessee, Kentucky and places you consider like that at one point it was a teacher’s college," says Lynch.
Originally founded in 1894 as the first brick building for African-American students with public funding, the Wechsler building is a piece of history that Lynch says should stand tall for years to come.
"We've lost so many of our historical significant buildings in Meridian that it's probably one of the last one left in the African-American community and we don’t want to see the wrecking ball come out there," says Lynch.
As a former Wechsler student and current foundation board member, Verda Kelly says that the building offers more to the community than what people can expect.
"We all can get to get together and you have some place you can go to gather, have a good time, fellowship with all your neighbors, just like how we used to do a long time ago," says Kelly.
The brunch concludes phase one of the Foundations plans. Phase two entails the Red Tail traveling exhibit as these efforts look to garner the support needed to move forward renovating Wechsler School.
Here are a few facts of the Wechsler School & the Wechsler Foundation. . .
The school was originally founded in 1894
In 1991 it was listed on the national registry of historic places
And in 2014 the Wechsler Foundation was formed to renovate the building and provide service to the area.