Dear ol’ Darden.

I’ve come to understand that the word “classmate” just hits different when you came up through all-black schools or attended an HBCU. (I did neither.) Here, my father and members of his beloved C.H. Darden High School Class of 1952. Of the men in this photo, he’s the last living; three of the women have gone on, too.

The Class of ‘52 was my village. Their children were my earliest friends. Darden High School’s last class graduated when I was not quite six, but I grew up steeped in its great legacy. Black Wide-Awake memorializes its earliest years and boosts its fading memory. “We sing a song of adoration, a song full of love and praise … Dear ol’ Darden High!”

(Also, that pennant. ✊🏾)

Photo in the collection of R.C. and B.A. Henderson.


  1. Indeed it (the term classmate) does. I am steeped in ‘All-Black School’ education – from pre-school to Grad School. Those folk are family, from teachers to students. I still call both my 2nd Grade and high school homeroom teachers ‘Ma’ – Hah! Nothing like it. 🙂 Wonderful memories. Great friendships. Thanks for spotlighting.

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