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School History

Brief History of Anne Chesnutt School

Anne Chesnutt Waddell

Anne Chesnutt was born on Nov. 19, 1881. All of her life she lived in the Chesnutt house on 429 Gillespie St., Fayetteville, NC. Anne was the daughter of Andrew J. and Mary Ochiltree Chesnutt and a sister of Charles W. Chesnutt. Later, she married Charles Waddell and became Mrs. Waddell.

Anne Chesnutt graduated from the state Normal School (today Fayetteville State University) in 1901. She did graduate work at Hampton Institute, Hampton VA, where she served with superintendents McBryde, Funderburk and Wilkins, and helped organize a number of schools, among them seven Rosenwald schools. Mrs. Waddell taught school in Cumberland County, later becoming a county school supervisor, in which she served 22 years until her retirement in 1936. As supervisor, she helped promote elementary education from 1916 to 1936, when she resigned to accept a teaching position in this county. Previously, she had served as teacher in Fayetteville and Wilson. The accomplishments this amazing woman achieved are remarkable, having in mind the hard times she lived in as an educated African American woman.

The Anne Chesnutt Middle School on N.C. 59, completed in December 1939, was named in honor of Mrs. Waddell. When the school was first founded, it was decided that all students on the west side of the river will attend it. Prof. Armstrong was to serve as principal of the Chesnutt High School and would attend to place it on the list of accredited high schools at the time. It was to carry a four-year course and have six teachers. They were P. N. Robinson, Permilla R. Flack, T. J. Ware and two more teachers, who were to be named later to teach home economics and library science. The two-room elementary school located on the same grounds would be combined with the Chesnutt school.

Mrs. Waddell died in 1965. Her service was conducted by Rev. Howard E. Haggler, was held at Evans Metropolitan A. M. E. Zion Church on Cool Spring St. Mrs. Anne Waddell is buried in the Brookside Cemetary.

Anne Chesnutt Middle School

Anne Chesnutt Middle School was built in December of 1938-1939. The school is located on Highway 401 By-Pass, (Skibo Road), Fayetteville, North Carolina. This school was named after Mrs. Anne Chesnutt Waddell for her dedication of years of hard work, serving as a supervisor in Cumberland County. According to the Fayetteville Observer, all students on the West side of the river would attend Anne Chesnutt and the students on the East side would attend the Armstrong School. During research, many of the books found at Anne Chesnutt Middle School revealed that the school was originally segregated as a black school only. It was desegregated as the years progressed.

Through the years of 1939 until 2002, the Anne Chesnutt School has undergone numerous changes. The school started out as grades eighth to eleventh and changed to grades nine through eleven in 1945. From 1969 until 1975, the school served ninth grade students only. In 1975, the school continued as a junior high school, but grew to accommodate grades seven through nine. In 1994, Anne Chesnutt became a middle school, serving grades sixth through eighth. In 2002, Anne Chesnutt began operating on a year-round school schedule and continues to serve grades sixth through eighth.



Fayetteville State University, Charles W. Chesnutt Library Archives and Special Collections;

Published by Kelley Ambersley-Ray on May 4, 2018