CAYCE, S.C. — The Cayce community is memorializing the former Cayce Colored School with a historical marker.
“I am blessed to say that I got my start right here at the Cayce Elementary School," said Isola Washington Calhoun.
Isola Washington-Calhoun, 93, went to the school that would eventually be renamed the Cayce Negro Elementary School more than 85 years ago.
Built in the late 1920's the school was the only one of its kind for African Americans in the city.
Today a historical marker stands in its place on the grounds of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
“They used to call us the little raggedy school from West Columbia with all the heart and spirit," said Calhoun.
Calhoun went on to attend Lakeview High School in West Columbia and later returned as a secretary.
“This means that I could brag that this is where I got my beginning from and so many others that went on and made great citizens of the United States of America," said Calhoun.
For alumni of the school, the historical marker serves as a reminder of an integral part of Cayce's history.
During the 1930's, there were about 200 students from first grade through seventh who walked through the halls of the school every day. The school was funded by the S.C. Equalization program as a state effort to preserve segregation by improving black schools.
“It was all that we had," said Cayce Mayor pro tem James "Skip" Jenkins. He's among one of the first African Americans to hold office in the city.
“It led you to be whatever you wanted to be, it set the foundation for that," he said.
The historical marker was made possible by a collaboration between the Neriah Community Development Corporation, Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center, Cayce Elementary Alumni, and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.