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Memorial Industrial School began as the Colored Baptist Orphanage Home for African-American children, located in the Belview neighborhood of Winston-Salem's Southside area. In 1928, it moved eight miles north of the city's downtown. The architectural firm Northup and O'Brien designed the overall site plan and the administration building, dormitories, and power plant. Contributions from The Duke Endowment and local philanthropists, including the Reynolds and Gray families, subsidized construction and operation of the campus. The curriculum included academic, agricultural, and domestic training. Memorial Industrial School closed in 1971 after operating for 48 years as one of only two black orphanages in North Carolina and the only such institution to serve a single county.

Memorial Industrial School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in social history of Forsyth County, North Carolina and African American ethnic history, as well as for its local educational and architectural importance. Memorial Industrial School, with its ninety-child capacity, and the Colored Orphanage of North Carolina near Oxford in Granville County, which could serve two hundred, were the state’s only two sizable black orphanages. The Memorial Industrial School housed and educated more than 1,300 youths over the course of its tenure.

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