Phyllis Hammonds 0

Save Eliza Miller School, (ca. 1955) from School to Opportunity Hub

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Background: Students of the Eliza Miller School are relocating to the newly renovated Central High School in Spring, 2020. This leaves Eliza Miller School vacant. The Helena-West Helena School District will solicit bids to allow other entities to acquire the use of the school.

A newly organized group, the Eliza Miller Opportunity Hub, composed of community leaders have developed a plan and will bid for the entire campus of the historic school. Why? To re-purpose the buildings to benefit the entire community. The Eliza Miller Opportunity Hub will serve as a public space where youth and families connect to resources that help them live out their full potential, expand their leadership, and give back to the community. This space will be an intergenerational facility – where children and adults will participate in a variety of learning experiences—independently and together. This will prevent the school from being acquired by other entities or torn down completely. Instead, the hub will provide the community with much needed space where adults can gather, to learn, and share their expertise to teach and mentor future generations.

Philosophy: EMOH will take a wholistic approach to reduce community violence and other societal ills by supporting African American males and all students by working in partnership with the Helena-West Helena school district by identifying “systems, structures, conditions and culture” to achieve positive educational and life outcomes.

Why Eliza Miller MUST be preserved, restored and repurpose!

The original Eliza Miller building was in Catholic Hollow ca, 1926, on land donated by Eliza Ross Miller, a teacher, philanthropist and entrepreneur who was the first African American woman in Arkansas to own and operate a Movie Theatre. This building was torn down in 1978 and sadly, the historic artifacts were thrown away by the district! This school was renamed South Side Elementary School. Some individuals want to tear this historic building down. However, Helena High School, once the all-white school which blacks could not attend. Now, it is still standing and has been repurpose as an apartment building for senior citizens. The campus of Eliza Miller Jr. High and Senior High must be saved, and we need your support to make this happen!!!

Eliza Miller did not meet the specifications of a modern high school in the 1950s, the Helena NAACP Chapter filed a suit against the Helena-West Helena School District, Harold Flowers, an Arkansas Delta lawyer, from Pine Bluff, filed the suit demanding the district build a new and improved Eliza Miller and equal pay for black teachers. This suit was a precursor to infamous National NAACP Case which Attorney Thurgood Marshall fought and won at the Supreme Court, Brown vs Board of Education, (1954). Attorney Flowers filed the suit against the Helena-West Helena School Board on behalf of the Helena NAACP in 1952.

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