Preserving school's heritage

The name itself -- George Fish Colored School -- speaks of a different era. On Sunday, alumni gathered to dedicate a memorial to the school and ensure that it does not fade from memory.

George Fish, an Englishman, became a superintendent at Springs Mill Plants 1 and 2 in Fort Mill in 1868. When the community sought to build a school for black students in 1925, Fish successfully lobbied for a brick school like the one white children attended, and the school was named after him.

He died in 1933, but the school on Steele Street would remain a school for black students until 1968, when it was integrated into Fort Mill Junior High. Surviving students now are in their 60s and 70s, but they remember well the days spent at the school.

Sunday, in commemoration of that experience and as an honor to Fish, alumni, friends and family gathered on Steele Street to dedicate a monument to the school.

Plans for the event have been in the works for more than a year. In addition to the monument, former students gathered pictures and memorabilia from their school days, which were displayed at the Volunteer Faith Center in Fort Mill.

We duly celebrate the civil rights movement that led to the integration of schools and other public places. But we also can't afford to forget the social history of institutions such as the George Fish School.

Congratulations to all those involved in preserving and honoring this piece of the past, which represents not only memories of those who attended the school but also an integral part of the history of Fort Mill.

Alumni help preserve a piece of the past with dedication to George Fish School.