Blog Post

Carnegie High School

Carnegie High School, once located in Marion, Virginia, was an important site for the Black community in Smyth County. Reverend Amos Carnegie first arrived in Marion in 1927 while serving as the pastor of Mount Pleasant Methodist Church. After his arrival to Marion, Carnegie found the school “hardly fit for a stable” and began fundraising to build the Carnegie High School. After Carnegie was unable to secure funding from the school board, he began fundraising within the black community and eventually received a grant from the Julius Rosenwald Fund for the school. The school was constructed by local black community members and officially opened in 1931. The school remained open until 1965 when desegregation of schools closed the school. Local icon William A. Fields attended Carnegie High School where he developed his passion for art. Kathrine Johnson, a former teacher at Carnegie High School, went on to work for NASA as a mathematician and is highlighted in the film Hidden Figures. Evelyn Lawrence, a local educator, advocate, and local pillar worked as a teacher in the school until desegregation closed Carnegie High School. A historical marker was dedicated to commemorating the school in November of 2019. The historical marker can be visited at 602 Iron Street Marion, Virginia.