The first public program was held at the 1872 Neosho Colored School in Neosho on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The first public program was held at the 1872 Neosho Colored School in Neosho on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Randall Becker, a park ranger at the George Washington Carver National Monument, gave this historic presentation.
Becker, speaking on a cold afternoon, told 12 visitors about Carver's experiences at the school in Neosho. He noted that Carver, as a young boy, walked from the Carver farm near Diamond, to Neosho to get an education. After arriving in Neosho, he was taken in by strangers, Andrew and Maria Watkins, who lived next to the little Black school.
Carver’s yearning for an education overrode his fear of striking out on his own and placing himself in the care of Andrew and Mariah.
Becker also spoke about the little school's teacher, Stephen Frost, who was teaching there when Carver attended in 1876. Frost had very little education, but was an inspiring figure to many of the between 40-75 students who attended. Because Carver had been taught by his former owners, Moses and Susan Carver, he was probably as educated as his teacher.
Speaking in the front yard of the little schoolhouse on Young Street, Becker told the story of this historic little building. It was built in 1870 as a private residence, but about a year later, was sold to the Neosho School Board who then outfitted it as a school of blacks.
The little school served Neosho's Black community until 1891, at which time it reverted back to being a residence. A new school, named Lincoln, opened that year in Neosho.
The little colored school on Young Street went through many upgrades and renovations over the years. In 2005, Arvest Bank donated it to the Carver Birthplace Association which is in the process of restoring it to the way it was when Carver was a student.
Becker reminded his listeners that Carver had a very successful career despite some heavy obstacles against him. He was born a slave, orphaned as a baby, and suffered a serious illnesses that left him a weakling.
But, thanks to the kindness of strangers, Carver became known worldwide as a teacher, scientist, and humanitarian.