The Ashburn Colored School, a historic remnant of education for Black Americans, was vandalized on Saturday with racist, derogatory messages, CNN reports.
Instituted during segregation and carrying forward 60 years later, the school offered six classes to Black Students–at a time when Blacks were shut out from the right to a proper education.
Vandals spray-painted swastikas, images of genitals, and the phrase “White power,” over the walls of the wooden structure. The school house stands alone near the side of the road, about 35 miles outside of Washington, D.C.
Since 2014, local students worked to refurbish the structure into a museum. What took six months to refurbish was destroyed in 20 minutes, CNN reports.
According to WJLA, students at nearby Loudon School For the Gifted raised over $100,000 in monetary efforts towards the museum fund. When reports of the vandalism broke, students aired out their grievances using a Facebook page dedicated to restoration efforts. “With all the hate that was put onto the schoolhouse, it was absolutely devastating for me,” Taz Foreman, a seventh-grader involved in the restoration, told WJLA.
Authorities from Loudon County say they will work to find the suspects who defaced the property. “The vandalism to the Ashburn Old School is reprehensible and will not be tolerated here,” Loudon County Sheriff Mike Chapman told CNN. They are offering a $1,000 reward to whoever presents information leading to an arrest or indictment of the suspects.