The Historic Jarvisburg Colored School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, honoring the importance of the school to black ethnic heritage, celebrating its architectural features and standing out as a rare example of a pre-Rosenwald African American school in Currituck County, NC. Founded in 1867 with a land grant from a freed slave, William B. Hunt, the Historic Jarvisburg Colored School represents a historical and cultural link to all of Currituck’s schools for African Americans beginning in 1868 through 1950.
The Jarvisburg Colored School would serve as the only establishment dedicated to the education of colored students until the early 1900s. In 1905 the colored community petitioned the county for assistance to handle the increased influx of students. The school was expanded to a two-story structure in 1911. The Jarvisburg Colored School progressed quietly for the following ten years as North Carolina and the rest of the South became part of a major African American educational movement with assistance of the Julius Rosenwald Fund. By 1919 Currituck received the first of three Rosenwald schools to be built in the county. In 1920 a two-story Rosenwald school in Coinjock would be opened, followed by Moyock and Gregory in 1922 and 1928 respectively.
In 1950, the first county-provided school for colored students (Currituck Union School) opened for grades 1-12. More than seven decades later, that building is now home to Central Elementary School.
Beginning with a vision in 1998 and continuing through 2003, the building, in disrepair, was restored with the mission of honoring the legacy of this educational institution and its importance in the region. With help from school alumni, local church members, Currituck County and local civic and business leaders, this school-turned-museum, today, showcases an upper elementary age classroom that often combined several grades of children. Former students have shared many stories from their time at one or more of these schools. Exhibits speak to the cultural heritage of living in a rural, poor and coastal county in North Carolina and the struggles, challenges and opportunities that were realized during this time in our history.