The buildings and athletic facilities remaining at the Berry O’Kelly School campus reflect the history of an important Raleigh institution. Residents of the freedman’s village that evolved into Method had always prioritized education. Three schools existed in the late nineteenth century before Method’s most prominent resident, Berry O’Kelly, donated land in 1894 for a new school. A frame building with gable roof housed the school until 1915, when a significant upgrade resulted in a ten-classroom brick edifice to house an elementary and high school. The new institution was called Berry O’Kelly Training School, and it consolidated three rural African American schools. Rosenwald funds helped expand the school in the 1920s, and by 1931 it was the state’s largest high school for African American students. The school remained in operation until 1966. The only buildings remaining are the 1926 Agriculture Building and the ca. 1959 Gymnasium. O’Kelly’s grave is on campus, and a memorial marker further honors and remembers his importance to the community. Saint James AME Church stands at the corner of the campus, another institution founded and supported by those who lived in Method.
Date: 1926, ca. 1928, ca. 1959