A Call to Arms
Facing the vanishing of the Last Piece of History,
Henderson Institute (HI) serves as a significant piece of Black History in Vance County. It engineered the ability of area Blacks to live a life of opportunity. The community attributes this to the A-Class Education provided by teachers who genuinely cared for the students. A small group of Association members fought to preserve this history by saving the Henderson Institutes Library Science Building.
We are grateful for their efforts and appreciate the legacy they left behind. Thank God for Mrs. Henrietta Hatton Clark and the former Students who cherished the social and economic rewards received from HI.
Today, the Library Science Building serves as the HI Museum which serves the community as a powerful symbol of identity. It anchors those who went there to a specific place and time in history.
“We had no money, but we got organized. We went before the General Assembly and got enough money to get started.”Mrs. Henrietta Hatton Clark
The Vance County Board of Education was planning to demolish the Library Science Building, the last remaining piece of the Henderson Institute Campus. It was determined that the buildings could not be brought up to standards.
However, they changed their decision after a hastily-assembled group of the HI Alumni called for a meeting with the School Board. They asked for and were granted the right to preserve and restore the building in 1983.
The last remaining building of the Henderson Institute campus, the Library Science Building, was renovated and restored into the Henderson Institute Historical Museum with restorations beginning back in 1983. The Henderson Institute Historical Museum opened its doors to the public in 1986, housing historical photographs, objects, and school memorabilia. The museum’s vast amount of historical documentation operates as an archive for African American facts and memorabilia of Vance County.
The Henderson Institute Historical Museum will continue to serve the community by hosting various cultural events and activities. It represents the whole of what was once Henderson Institute High School. It has become a powerfully identifying symbol for the Black community, anchoring those who went there to a specific place and time in history.
The National Register of Historic Places
The 1928 Library Science Building is the only surviving reminder of the Henderson Institute Campus established in Henderson, N.C., in 1887. Once part of a sixty-seven-acre campus, the development of which was launched in 1891, the Library Science Building houses reference materials that supported the school’s educational and vocational mission. The Henderson Institute Historical Museum represents the whole of what was once the Henderson Institute Campus. It serves the community as a powerfully identifying symbol, anchoring those who went there to a specific place and a specific time in history.