Per Speight Middle School’s “About Us“:
“Speight Middle School first opened its doors in the fall of 1951 at 6640 Speight School Road[, Stantonsburg, North Carolina.] At that time, however, Speight School stood as the only school on this side of Wilson County where young black children could receive a high school education. Before Speight opened, black students were only provided with a 7th-grade education. Recognizing the need for further educational opportunities, concerned citizens began meeting to organize their efforts to provide a high school education for their children. It took ten years, a lawsuit, and a donation of land, but Speight School was finally opened. The school started out with a faculty of 24 teachers, a librarian, and a principal. By the end of its third year, it was the largest high school in the county, with 40 teachers and approximately 1100 students. At its peak, Speight School served over 1400 students a year. In 1970, Speight became a middle school when the integration of the county system was complete. Speight Middle School was reopened in a beautiful new facility on Old Stantonsburg Road July on 2001. Although we were all excited about the new facility, the faculty and staff of Speight are dedicated to maintaining its positive reputation, high standards of excellence, and high quality of education for our students. Through the efforts of our staff, students, parents, and community supporters, we know that Speight Middle School will continue to be a symbol of educational excellence and opportunity in the Wilson County area.”
Speight High School was the culmination of the persistent and creative demands of Mark B. Sharpe and other African-American parents that Wilson County meet its obligation to educate their children. For a full account of their triumphant struggle, see Charles W. McKinney’s Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina.
From “County Schools Enter New Era With Consolidation Completed: Two New Colored Schools Are Best in North Carolina,” Wilson Daily Times, 15 August 1951.