On the occasion of her induction into the Shaw University Athletic Hall of Fame, Annie Cooke Dickens shared memories of her school days in Wilson and beyond.
- Dickens credited John M. “Bing” Miller, her high school basketball coach, and Marian Miller, the girls’ basketball chaperone, as her “foundation.”
- Dickens played guard on Shaw’s women’s basketball team from 1938 to 1942.
- The basketball team played games in Banner Warehouse, and Marian Miller brought a small oil heater to warm the space.
- For road games, the team road in a truck with a bench strapped to the body. They played most games on dirt courts.
Wilson Daily Times, 14 December 1993.
- “Extremely poor family” seems an exaggeration, as Dickens’ father was a railroad clerk, and the family owned a two-story house across from Darden High School.
- Dickens was a cheerleader for three years and was crowned Miss Shaw as a junior and senior.
- She was a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and several student organizations.
- Dickens’ first teaching position was at Yelverton School near Saratoga, then Lofton School, where she was principal. These schools had no electricity, running water, or indoor toilets. She also taught in Greensboro and at Speight School.
- She worked in school administration for 21 years before retiring.
- Her husband James Dickens was a teacher at Fike High School. Both retired in 1983.
- She engaged in volunteer work after retirement.
Women’s basketball team, Shaw University Journal (1939).
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Hadley Street, railroad mail clerk Jerry L. Cook, 43; wife Clara, 39, teacher; children Henderson, 20, Edwin D., 18, Clara G., 14, Georgia E., 12, Annie, 8, Jerry L., 6, and Eunice D., 4; sister Georgia E. Wyche, 48, teacher; and nieces Kathaline Wyche, 7, and Reba Whittington, 19.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 916 East Green Street, railway clerk J.L. Cook, 54, born Wake County; wife Clara, 48, born Craven County; children Henderson J., 30, Clara, 24, Annie, 18, Jerry, 16, and Eunice, 14; and cousin Ella Godette, 18. Henderson and young Clara were born in New Bern; the remaining children in Wilson.