W. Gresham Meggett High and Elementary School

National Register Listing
Street Address:
1929 Grimball Road, James Island, SC (Charleston County)
Alternate Name:
Septima P. Clark Corporate Academy

NRHP Nomination

Record Number:
S10817710195
Description and Narrative:
The W. Gresham Meggett High and Elementary School in Charleston County, South Carolina, is a Modernist building influenced by the International style. Constructed in 1951, the W. Gresham Meggett High and Elementary School is significant under Criterion A in the areas of Education and Ethnic Heritage: African American because it is representative of the consolidation of smaller rural African American schools during the state’s equalization program in the 1950s and 1960s. The school was built as the only black high school for the rural African American community on James Island in an effort to maintain “separate but equal” schools for black and white children. The creation of a public high school provided African American students on James Island with educational opportunities that were previously inaccessible. Paralleling the massive population growth after World War II, the school was expanded three times during the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the increasing numbers of students until the school system desegregated in 1969. The school is also eligible under Criterion C because its architecture, especially that of the gymnasium, exemplifies the work of local architect Augustus Constantine and new approaches to school design during the postwar period. Constantine’s firm designed both the school and the gymnasium, and while the school conforms to the design principles deployed at most schools built in the period, the gymnasium (added in 1967) stands apart. The gymnasium’s principal façade references architectural details from Italian Renaissance churches such as arcades, blind ocular windows, and massive gable roofs, giving the building a Mediterranean feel. Listed in the National Register February 20, 2018.
Period of Significance:
1951 – 1969
Level of Significance:
Local
Area of Significance:
Education;Architecture;Ethnic Heritage: Black
National Register Determination:
listed
Date of Certification:
February 20 2018