Historic Bruce Street School

Built through a grassroots community effort, the Bruce Street School was the first African-American public school in DeKalb County. While the stone school (also known as “the old school building”) was built in the late 1930s, the Bruce Street School’s history of community-led education efforts goes back to the 1880s. The old school building ruins that remain stand as a legacy to African-American education in DeKalb County and the power of community.  

Join us for a Juneteenth project update either virtually via Zoom, or in-person at the offices of the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance from noon until 1pm on Friday, June 17 (the Friday before Juneteenth). Event details and registration info here.

The Future of the Historic Bruce Street School Ruins

Today, the remains of the old school building sit adjacent to the site where the new East DeKalb Senior and Community Center will stand. This creates an exciting opportunity to not only preserve the old school building but also to activate the site to create a place for community pride and to tell this important story. We’ve created a short video (above) to share some possibilities for the historic Bruce Street School ruins. The first step in the new chapter of the historic Bruce Street School is community engagement, and we need your help! Join our Juneteenth Bruce Street project update, either virtually or in person. Both virtual and in-person events taking place from noon to 1:00pm on Friday, June 17 (Friday before Juneteenth). Event details and signup here.

Your Voice Matters

Community engagement is a crucial component to preserve the old school building ruins and bring the whole Bruce Street School story to life. The best way for you to share your thoughts on the old school building’s future and how we should approach the preservation of this historic site is to participate in upcoming opportunities to share your voice. If you’d like to participate, please complete the interest form, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming community engagement events. 

Share Your Story

Did you or someone you know attend the Bruce Street School? Do you have mementos like photographs, yearbooks, and other items from the school? If you answered yes, then we’d love to hear from you! First-hand accounts, oral histories, photographs, and other memorabilia help us understand the past and allows a complete story to be told. There are lots of ways to share your memories and artifacts with us. One way is to complete our History Harvest form. You can also email us or connect on Facebook



About the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance 
Lithonia sits in the heart of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, a historically and naturally significant landscape that encompasses over 40,000 acres where people live, work, and play. The Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance (the Arabia Alliance) will lead community engagement efforts for the historic Bruce Street School ruins project. The Alliance is the non-profit partner that advocates for, preserves, and tells the story of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. The Alliance has led many preservation, community development, and interpretive projects across DeKalb, Henry, and Rockdale Counties.