Sunday, November 8, 2009
Garagecentric? No, the Wiley obelisk
The blog took advantage of a fine fall Saturday to photograph the Wiley obelisk. This obelisk is difficult to approach during the week because it stands next to Wiley Middle School and Reynolds High School, and all available parking spaces are always taken. But it was worth the effort! Calvin Henderson Wiley (1819-1887) was a founder of the public schools in Winston-Salem and the first superintendent of "common schools" for North Carolina. His biography states that "Wiley completely changed the concept of public education in North Carolina." This does not seem to be an overstatement. The following passage offers but a small sample of Wiley's many accomplishments as an educator: "Wiley promoted universal education, advocating acceptance and support of the common schools. During the Civil War he urged Governor John W. Ellis not to divert school funds to the war effort; Ellis supported Wiley's position and the schools were kept open. The annual report for 1863 showed that 50,000 children were enrolled in the common schools. The percentage of illiteracy within North Carolina's voting population declined from 29.2 in 1850 to 23.1 by 1860, with the decrease being attributed to the schools' movement spearheaded by Wiley." Wiley is often referred to as "the Horace Mann of the South." But does Horace Mann have his own obelisk?
Posted by S. E. Fahrbach at 7:39 AM