GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — There was a time when African Americans like Joseph Malone couldn’t go to the same school as his white counterparts.

“You didn’t have a choice,” he said. “This was the school and nobody ever thought about….going somewhere else. This was it.”

In 1922, Union High School was the first and only secondary school in Sumner County where Black students could learn.

“I was the last class to graduate from this school in 1970,” said Malone.

Memories of his father who served as the school’s principal and his teachers are always on his mind.

“They pushed us to be more and more, even though we didn’t have some of the resources that other schools had,” he said.

Velma Brinkley’s husband taught science at the school just before it closed.

“The legacy of the African American in Sumner County is most worthy,” she said.

So worthy in fact that Brinkley and others pushed for a museum to be created.

“We, too, have a long history here, and it is so worthy of being preserved, taught, and passed on,” she said.

The Union High School Museum now lies inside the former school in Gallatin, taking visitors back in time to learn about the school and the community that supported it.

“When the county refused the funds for what the school needed, the principal simply turned to the community and the community would always fulfill that need,” said Brinkley.

Union High’s doors might be closed now, but its story is open and ready to be shared.

“We hope people will get it and gravitate and it will motivate them to do other things to help other students in the community,” said Malone.

Brinkley said there’s plans to renovate the former home economics department inside the school so they can expand the museum out and make it interactive.

A ribbon cutting will be held Saturday, Sept 2 at the former school, located at 600 Small Street in Gallatin.

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The ribbon cutting will take place at 3 p.m. and afterwards, people can stop in and visit the museum until 6 p.m.

The former school also houses the Gallatin Shalom Zone, a place that provides life-enriching programs for children, youth, and families in Sumner County.