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November 18, 2019

Faces of Fauquier: She works to build community

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Earsaline Anderson has worked to prepare a historical marker, slated for dedication Saturday, at the site of the former Rosenwald School at Rectortown.
I was taught by my father if you can, make a difference to a cause, be heard. Go forward and express your concerns.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
At home, church and school, the Rectortown native got drilled on the importance of community.

“You were taught to belong, to give back,” recalled Earsaline Anderson, 74.

Taking that lesson to heart, the teenager headed Sunday school classes at Mount Olive Baptist Church near Rectortown, twice served as class president in the 1960s at the then blacks-only W.C. Taylor High School in Warrenton, participated in at least two school clubs, joined the yearbook committee and, because of hard work and book smarts, made the honor society.

“I wasn’t shy,” said Mrs. Anderson, laughing.

The retired federal government worker seems as eager as ever to volunteer.

In her free time, Mrs. Anderson serves as Mount Olive Baptist’s clerk and, on behalf of the Afro-American Historic Association of Fauquier, monitors deliberations related to the planned renovation and expansion of one of two middle schools in the county seat — Taylor or Warrenton.

The other school would get repurposed.

The 1964 Taylor High graduate, who lives just outside of Warrenton, would like the structure to continue to operate as a school.

“That’s my preference,” said Mrs. Anderson, who also oversees a memorial fund that supports Taylor Middle School and alumni efforts.

But the project that today occupies much of her time entails a marker to commemorate the blacks-only Rosenwald School that stood on the Claude Thompson Elementary School campus near Rectortown.

The marker’s unveiling and dedication ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, in Thompson elementary. A reception will follow the event at the school.

Fronting Rectortown Road, the marker will be installed in the spring several hundred yards from the site of the long-gone structure.

The marker recognizes the two men — Julies Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington — who partnered with communities mostly in South to help build the schools.

Mr. Rosenwald became a part owner and president of Sears Roebuck Co. A prominent philanthropist, Mr. Washington served as president of the Tuskegee Institute — a historically black university in Alabama.

The Rosenwald Schools sought to offset persistent underfunding of public education for African-American children in the South before desegregation. The effort built 382 schools in Virginia between 1917 and 1932.

The Rectortown marker also includes a brief history of the three-room school, which housed 50 to 60 students, grades one through seven, Mrs. Anderson said.

Known as Rectortown No. 12 School, it opened in 1924 and closed 39 years later, according to the former Rectortown school student, who developed the marker’s text and recruited speakers for Saturday’s dedication.

Fauquier had eight Rosenwald schools. In August, a marker acknowledging them got unveiled and dedicated at Warrenton’s Eva Walker Park.

The Florida-based Jewish American Society of Historic Preservation funded the Warrenton and Rectortown markers, which cost $3,500 and $1,750, respectively.

Mrs. Anderson has only fond memories of her Rectortown school days.

“Everyone was of a caring nature,” she said. “We didn’t have bullying and all of that going on in school. Everybody came to school with the desire to learn.

“I knew that I was getting the best — that I could go somewhere with my education. We all did. I never felt negative about it at all.”

• Age
74

• Home 
Near Warrenton

• Work
Federal government worker, information technology manager, 1973-2014; teacher’s aide/secretary, Fauquier County Public Schools, 1965-73.

• Why do you volunteer?
I was taught by my father if you can, make a difference to a cause, be heard. Go forward and express your concerns. The community needs to be aware of what’s going on. If you’re silent, the message won’t be delivered.

If you wait for someone else, it may not happen. There are times when you need to move or react.

• Family
Husband Richard, 76; daughter, Penny Anderson-Walton, 57

• Education
Records management certificate, University of Maryland, 2001; attended Northern Virginia Community College, taking business management courses, 1987-92; W.C. Taylor High School, 1964.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Clerk, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Rectortown; chairwoman, Hazzard-Johnson Memorial Fund, which supports W.C. Taylor High School and its alumni.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
73 years.

• Why do you live here? 
I’m around family. That’s a big factor. I want to give back to the community and the church.

I love the city. But, my husband loves Warrenton. So, I compromised.

• How do you describe this county? 
There’s a lot to be offered. You’re in a rural area, but you’re close enough to the city that you can have both experiences.

Families are self-sufficient. There’s a caring atmosphere — “I’m my brother’s keeper.” You know your neighbors. There’s unity within the neighborhood. There’s a bond within the neighborhood.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
There needs to be something for the young people, the students, to be involved in — a roller skating rink, ice skating rink, a movie theater.

They have Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts. But what else is there to meet the needs or give them additional talents and trades?

There’s too much idle time, especially when school lets out. During summer, there’s nothing for them to do.

• What do you do for fun? 
Flower gardening, reading, walking. I like to go to movies, shop — but not for clothing. Sometimes you’re out there looking for antiques.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
I have two: My church and Taylor (Middle School). They always bring back fond memories. And, there’s the comradery.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years? 
More development. Not so much (single-family) houses. Maybe townhouses, apartments meeting the needs of the millennials.

I see some sort of transit — maybe a bus system — just to get from one place to another. And, that’s a good thing. Everybody’s not going to want to own a car.

I’m hoping to see more stores. I think there’s going to be more things for physical fitness. I’m hoping there will be some kind of employment — that people won’t have to leave the area to work.

• Favorite TV show?
“Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise.”

• Favorite movie? 
“Black Panther.”

• Favorite book?
“Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly.

• Favorite vacation spot? 
Myrtle Beach. S.C.

• Favorite food? 
Lemon meringue pie.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom? 
Wilhelmina Smith, deceased Mount Olive Baptist Church clerk. She told me to always listen before speaking and to tell the truth. If you don’t have the exact facts, don’t ad lib.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My dad. He told us we could be whatever we want to be in life and he would support that. He was always a giving person. He gave sound advice and he was dependable. If he said he was going to do something, he did it.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery? 
I would get a lawyer and an accountant, first. I would spend it wisely. The church would be one of the first I would give to. And I’d give to my school — Taylor.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or Lou Emerson at LKE@fauquiernow.com.
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skival · November 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm
What a lovely lady. She is smart too, we do need more entertainment and fun things for older kids and adults to do. I would love a bowling alley and skating rink. Exercise and fun!
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