The Brick School Legacy

Filmmaker and educator Willa Cofield traces the colorful history of the Brick School, a pioneering boarding institution which provided education for African-Americans in segregated North Carolina from 1895 to 1933. The Brick School Legacy details the story of educator Thomas Sewell Inborden, who founded the Brick School in 1895 to serve the large number of rural African-Americans in the eastern North Carolina counties, and to provide solid academic training and an extension program for agricultural workers. With oral history interviews and a rich selection of archival images, Cofield, whose family has deep roots in the region, creates a powerful history of a school that positively changed lives.

Dr. Willa Cofield began classes at Scribe Video Center in the fall of 1998 after an eight-year search for a filmmaker to bring the story of Brick School to the screen. She has deep roots in North Carolina, having lived in Enfield, three miles from Brick School, for much of her life. Retired from the NJ Department of Education, she now resides in Plainfield, NJ, where she co-leads Women in Conversation and works with Girls in Conversation and the Black Women’s History Conference, which she founded in 1983. During the summer, she serves as a small group leader for SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) in California, Minnesota, and New Jersey.

Produced by: Willa Cofield

Year: 2003

Duration: 37 min


Fall 2002 – Cofield wins a Philadelphia Independent Film & Video Association subsidy
2004 – Winner of 2004 United States Super 8 Film + Digital Video Festival Screening Jury Citation (However, the video is not screened during festival.)
July 2003 – Winner, Best Documentary, PhilaFilm International Film Festival at the African American Museum, PA


June 12, 2002 – Film: Repertory, Philadelphia Weekly (brief mention)
June 13, 2002 – Screen Picks, Philadelphia City Paper (brief mention)

Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 

June 13 & 14, 2002 – Part of Scribe’s 20th anniversary celebration kick-off at Prince Music Theater
January 23, 2003 – The North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, NC)
June 28, 2003 – Premiere, Inborden School (Enfield, NC)
Summer 2003 – McWilliams Family Reunion (Rocky Mount, NC)
February 2004 – Black History Month Celebration (Tarboro, NC)
Spring 2004 – Women in Conversation (Plainfield, NJ)
May 21-22, 2004 – Westfield High School Ninth-Grade English Classes (Westfield, NJ)
July 3, 2004 – PhilaFilm International Film Festival at the African American Museum, (Philadelphia, PA)
June 17, 2004 – One-Room School House Conference, University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA)
June 2004 – Vinegar Hill Festival, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
July 2004 – SEED Leaders’ Conference, San Deomenico School (San Anselmo, CA)
March 9 & 16, 2005 – Women of Color Film Series at Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, CA)
January 15, 2005, Plainfield Cable Television (Plainfield, NJ)