History of MCSD's Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts

History of MCSD's Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The doors to the new Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts in Columbus are officially open.

Students will be exposed to several disciplines, art, dance, theatre, music, and film.

Most folks are aware there is a new school in Muscogee County, and many know the name, but not everyone knows where that name come from.

She was known as the "Mother of The Blues," and despite the fact that Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey was born in Russell County, AL, she called Columbus home. In fact, her home at 8th Street and Fifth Avenue is on the historic registry and is now a blues museum.

The historic marker out front points out that she made 94 blues records for Paramount before 1928. Rainey managed her own band and encouraged younger musicians such as Louie Armstrong and Bessie Smith.

She died in 1939 at the young age of 53 and is buried in Columbus' Porterdale Cemetery. In 1994, the Postal Service issued a Ma Rainey stamp commemorating the greats of American jazz.

Carson McCullers was born in Columbus in 1917 and raised in this home on Stark Avenue. She went to Columbus High School, where at the age of 15 her father gave a typewriter to encourage her story writing.

McCullers left for New York in 1934 to study piano at the Julliard School of Music, but contracted rheumatic fever and returned home.

When she went back to New York, McCullers had decided to pursue a writing career. In 1937, she married and moved to Charlotte, NC.

It was here she wrote her first novel, "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter." Other works would follow, "Reflections in a Golden Eye" "The Member of the Wedding" and "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe." McCullers died in 1967 and is buried in Nyack, New York.

The Muscogee County School Board voted on the name "Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts" back in January.

Board members originally approved a vote for this school to be called the "Rainey-Mccullers Arts Academy," but was later changed to "school of the arts" by the request of school Superintendent David Lewis.

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