Black History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans and to highlight their historical contribution to our communities. But one chapter of Phoenix history could be forgotten altogether if more funding isn’t secured to keep the doors open.
“That was the office, principal's office,” … “You didn't spend much time there?”… “No, no I never got into difficulty.”
No more than a minute inside and you can just feel Calvin Goode’s love for his alma mater.
“All of this is original... this is all original here.”
The Monarchs of George Washington Carver High School held records in sports and in academics. Their instruction was second to none.
“This was a fun high school, but it was a serious high school,” Maurice Ward told me. He attended Carver in the early 1950s.
“Our teachers were disciplinarians and our principal was the major disciplinarian."
The teachers all had Master’s Degrees or PhD’s by design. They knew that these kids would have to work harder.
That’s because Carver (formerly Phoenix Colored High School) was the only segregated school in the state of Arizona.
For the better part of three decades, black students excelled, even while being denied the basic rights that others enjoyed.
In this century, Carver is now a museum with a mission.
“We’re trying to provide an opportunity for citizens to become more acquainted with what we have been able to accomplish here and our aspirations and goals for the future.”
At nearly 90 years old, Calvin Goode is still trying to carry on the legacy of Carver’s namesake; a scientist and Renaissance man who broke barriers and challenged stereotypes.
But the center needs funding to operate to make sure that we never forget those who fought for freedom from prejudice within these walls.
“Every time I say the pledge of allegiance liberty, justice, freedom for all, I think about, hey, we've not achieved that yet. Even though I think we're the best nation in the world. There's still work to be done.”
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is located at 415 E. Grant Street in Phoenix, just south of Chase Field.
It’s situated on a five acre piece of land and requires a lot of maintenance to function.
For more information on how you can help or to donate funds visit www.gwcmccaz.org.