BERNARD COMMUNITY CENTER, INC. is a non-profit corporation under the provisions of TCA Section 48.1-601 since October 27, 2001. The principal office is the O.H. Bernard School building that was purchased by the corporation September 14, 2006 by the securing of a bank loan by the officers. (picture attached)
The school building is an important part of the African American history of Hickman County. The first O.H. Bernard School came into existence in 1930 as a result of the philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald (president of Sears Roebuck & Co.) of Chicago and Booker T. Washington of Alabama working together from a “Rosenwald Fund” who sought to improve the Black educational opportunities in the south. The basic idea was a matching grant approach with contributions from the black community, the county school board, and Rosenwald funds. Nearly 5000 schools were built in the south and southwest. That 3 class room building was destroyed by fire in 1956.
The present O.H. Bernard School was erected in 1956-1957. Grades 1-12 were taught at the school until 1969. After 1969 it became a kindergarten and special education school for Centerville. It closed in 1984. Prior to the purchase by the corporation the building had been a manufacturing and storage facility, then abandoned, and in need of major repair.
The chief objective of BERNARD COMMUNITY CENTER, INC. is the renovation of the facilities (gymnasium and school building) to serve as a community center. It is our vision to offer services that will transform life for the better for citizens of Hickman County.
Our challenge at Bernard is a great one. We have ongoing fundraisers to eliminate the bank note. With the help of community volunteered labor, grants, and donations, we have several rooms renovated and now in use. The Bernard Community Center has been the location for various community events: memorial and holiday celebrations, school reunions, theater plays, community business meetings, exercise classes, neighborhood watch and safety classes, sewing classes, benefit fundraisers and other functions.
This year as a stop on the 2013 Arts and Ag Tour we are showcasing beautiful home-made quilts. The quilts were made at Bernard by women of Hickman County in classes taught by Ruth Ann Carathers.
While here we invite you to tour the building to see the progress made and what we are attempting to achieve.