The All Kids Are First Old Schoolhouse is a remnant of the days of segregation, but was built with the “sweat equity” of the local community so children could get an education. The desegregation era saw a lot of community institutions, often developed at considerable sacrifice, and sources of pride and achievement, hastily torn down, destroyed and discarded- a fact that still rankles many black communities (Patterson, 2008). It is the first black schoolhouse in Flagler County, Florida, in the town of Espanola. Alone of all the former black schools, only the Espanola Schoolhouse remains.
Click below to watch video of Rev. Giddens speak about the Old Schoolhouse at the AKA King Day of Service, in Espanola – a project to help the restoration effort
It fell into disrepair in the 1970s as community children were shifted to other venues, but over the years, the crumbling structure was slowly rebuilt by Rev. Frank Giddens of the St. Paul’s Baptist Church, whose vision is to create an academic tutoring program, youth center and summer camp for the town’s disadvantaged youth. Rev Giddens also has another attachment to the old building besides history. His wife, Essie Mae Giddens, was the first teacher at the old building, and one of the first black teachers in Flagler County.