MARIETTA, Ga. — A school located on Lemon Street in Marietta is an important part of Black history. This school is where African American children attended school in Marietta before integration.
The original Lemon Street Grammar School was built in 1894.
“To see this structure still standing, I can’t tell you how many times we were told it couldn’t be saved,” said Pearl Freeman, a former student.
A new building was built in 1951. The school was closed to students about 20 years later. Marietta City Schools began using the building for storage.
Freeman has many memories of her time at the Lemon Street school.
“I started here in 1954 and, at 72 years old, to come back here and see this is overwhelming,” Freeman said.
Freeman attended the school from grade school through high school. She graduated in 1966. This was the last year before integration with Marietta.
The high school was demolished just one year later in 1967.
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“This could’ve been the last Black footprint in the city of Marietta. And had it been torn down and destroyed, when you say you’re from Marietta, they would say, ‘Well, I didn’t know Black people lived in Marietta,” former student George Miller said.
The school system committed to restoring the elementary school. This month, the building is reopening its doors to educate students. This will be the home of the Marietta Performance Learning Center.
“Everyone that went to school here can still walk in and go, ‘That was my first grade classroom in 1954,’” Chief Operating Officer of Marietta City Schools Chuck Gardner said.
“Lemon street was more than a school. It was a family,” Miller said.
Miller’s mind began to recall his days at the school as the group toured the renovated facility.
“This was the playground in this area,” Miller said.
The Lemon Street school was also applauded for its great band and equally great sports teams. Its team was the 1966 state football champions, which happened to be the last year of the high school.
Past students see the Lemon Street school as an important part of Marietta’s Black history. It’s a tribute to students, teachers, staff members and the community.
Future generations will be able to relish its significance now that it has been preserved for many more to make memories in upcoming years.
Cox Media Group