Founded after Black parents boycotted the public Colored Graded School to protest mistreatment of Black teachers, Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute, (also called the Independent School) operated for about ten years.
The school had neither a crest nor a motto, but, in honor of its 103rd anniversary this month, I imagined both.
QUIA NOS STARE — Because we stand.
For more about Wilson Normal & Industrial Institute, see:
Both Darden High Schools graduated their last classes in 1970. Their buildings, however, remain in use. The newer section of Wilson’s Darden houses part of Samuel H. Vick Elementary. Opelika’s Darden is now home to Lee County Head Start Darden Center.
School calendars aligned with the rhythms of the agricultural calendar. Even so, children picking cotton missed the beginning of school in October. (Just as children at my high school who worked in tobacco nearly one hundred years later sometimes did not report until after Labor Day.)
In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Enos Thompson, 41; wife Hillon, 41; and children John, 17, Margaret, 16, Lucy, 6, Pet, 4, and Ennis, 3.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: garden laborer Ennis Thompson, 72; wife Helen, 65; and daughter Lucy, 35, laundress.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 144 East, Lucy Thompson, 40, and father Ennice Thompson, 81, widower.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 200 Pender, renting [likely a room] at $2/month, Lucy Thompson, 65.
Lucy A. Thompson died 24 July 1946 at her home at 310 Singletary Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; was born in Wilson County to Ennis Thompson of Greene County, N.C., and Hellen A. Ruffin of Louisburg, N.C.; worked as a teacher; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.
Wilton M. Bethel‘s collection includes several large group photographs mostly taken on the campus of Saint Augustine’s, the Episcopal Church-affiliated college for African-Americans in Raleigh, North Carolina.
One of the earliest appears to be the formal portrait below of nine African-American men. In 1996, J. Robert Boykin III, who rescued the collection, sought assistance from Sarah L. Delany (of “Having Our Say” fame) to identify them.
On the top row, they are Rev. Henry Hudson (“my classmate”), a 1910 graduate of Saint Augustine’s collegiate division; Professor Charles H. Boyer (1870-1942) (“my teacher”), Saint Augustine’s professor; Rev. Charles Mail, priest at Oxford, North Carolina; Wylie B. Latham, a mail clerk in Raleigh and member of Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church; and perhaps Mr. Latham’s son.
Seated are Rev. James E. King, priest at Saint Ambrose from 1896 to 1913; “my father” the renowned Bishop Henry Beard Delany (1858-1928), first African-American Episcopal bishop in North Carolina and the second in the United States; Rev. James K. Satterwhite, Saint Aug graduate, priest at Saint Ambrose from 1913-1919 and then in Florida; and Rev. Robert N. Perry (“1st cousin of my mother, Nanny L. Logan”) and priest at Wilson’s Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church from 1905-1919.
Below, a photograph of student nurses and, perhaps, staff of Saint Agnes Hospital, established in 1896 on Saint Augustine’s campus. This image appears in Saint Aug’s 1927-28 Annual Catalogue. Bethel’s collection contains several loose snapshots of campus buildings. Did he take them for the college’s use?
Below, a group of lay people and clergy standing in front of another presumed campus building. (Can anyone identify it?) Wilson’s John H. Clark, a longtime lay leader at Saint Mark’s Episcopal, stands furthest left. The man standing second to the right of the girl on the front row is unidentified, but appears in snapshots in Wilton Bethel’s photo album.
John H. Clark (1863-1949), Wilton Bethel’s father-in-law.
Another large group standing on the steps of Saint Augustine’s Hunter Building.
Below, an industrial arts class at Saint Augustine’s College.
Another mixed group of clergy and lay people, presumably at Saint Aug. John H. Clark is seated on the second or third row, directly behind the man on the front row with his hat on his knee.
This shot, probably dating to the late 1930s, depicts a dinner gathering of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance employees in Goldsboro, N.C. The guest of honor, N.C. Mutual’s long-time president Charles C. Spaulding, is seated below the welcome sign, wearing a bowtie. Goldsboro was Bethel’s home office. I don’t see him in the shot; perhaps he was the night’s photographer. (Notice the folding chairs borrowed from the occasion from funeral director Lawrence T. Lightner.)
In the photo below, a bow-tied John H. Clark overlooks a large group of people gathered at one side of what appears to be a church or school building. It does not appear to have been taken in Wilson at Saint Mark’s. I am not certain, but the man on the third row, at right, standing beside a woman in white, appears to be Rev. Robert N. Perry.
Sixth-grade teacher Alice H. Jones (1892-1957). The Trojan yearbook, C.H Darden High School, 1949.
Lucy Frances Jones died 18 February 1930 at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina. Per her death certificate, she was born 19 October 1914 in Wilson, N.C., to J. Robert Jones of Virginia and Alice H. Albright of Davidson County, N.C.; was a school girl; and was buried in Raleigh’s Cross Roads, Guilford County.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 808 East Vance, owned and valued at $2000, widow Rosa Foster, 42, public school teacher; her children Carter, 16, Daily Times newsboy, and Naomi, 14; and roomers Alice Jones, 36, and Mamie Key, 20, public school teachers.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Alice H. Jones, 46, public school teacher, and son James R. Jones, Jr., 23, office building janitor.
In 1940, James Robert Jones Jr. registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 2 January 1917 in Wilson; lived at 808 East Vance Street; his contact was his mother Alice Helena Jones; and he worked for Ernest C. Lucas, Lucama, N.C.
Alice Jones died 29 October 1957 at Duke Hospital, Durham, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was 65 years old; was born in Lexington, N.C., to John Albright and Alice Adams; was the widow of James R. Jones; lived at 122 Pender Street; and was a retired schoolteacher. Robert Jones was informant.
Ojetta C. Harrison was listed in the freshman class of Saint Augustine’s College in 1936-37. She does not appear in subsequent school catalogs.
In the 1930 census of Bailey township, Nash County: farmer Ellie W. Harris, 45; wife Rosa A., 44; and children Carrie L., 21, William E., 19, Ojetta, 18, Lila M., 16, Ethel M., 14, Mattie E., 13, Robert H., 10, Jessie L., 10, Beatrice, 8, George L., 6, and Hellin J., 2. Ellie, Rosa, and their four oldest children were born in South Carolina; Ethel in Virginia; and the remaining in North Carolina.
On 25 November 1937, Ojetta C. Harrison, 25, married Fred D. Palmer, 25, in Washington, D.C. She remained in D.C. the rest of her life.
Sixth-grade teacher Clara Rosetta Godette Cooke (1891-1952). The Trojan yearbook, C.H Darden High School, 1949.
In the 1900 census of Township #5, Craven County, N.C.: farmer Jessie Godette, 32; wife Liza, 29; children Martha A., 13, Matilda, 11, Clara R., 8, Beauler, 7, Eather, 5, Walter A., 2, and Eunice, 8 months; cousin Blanger Godette, 16; and boarder William Fenner, 22.
On 21 May 1908, Jerry L. Cook, 21, of Wake Forest, N.C., married Clara R. Godett, 17, of New Bern, in New Bern, Craven County, N.C. Rev. A.L.E. Weeks, Missionary Baptist minister, performed the ceremony. [Rev. Weeks xxxx.]
In the 1910 census of Township #8, Craven County, North Carolina: at 5 Randolph Street, printing office mail dispatch employee Jerry L. Cooke, 23; wife Clara R., 19; son Henderson J., newborn; and widowed lodger Fanny Tull, 52, cook.
In the 1920 census of New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina: government mail clerk J.L. Cook, 33; wife Clara R., 29; and children Henderson, 9, Edwin, 8, Clara, 4, and Georgia, 2.
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.
Clara Godette Cook died 31 January 1952 at her home at 916 East Green Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 18 April 1891 in Craven County, North Carolina, to Jesse P. Godette and Eliza Ann Fenner; was married; and worked as a teacher. Clara Cook Bailey, 916 East Green Street, was informant.
It’s difficult to say exactly what William H.A. Howard‘s free “enterprise” involved. A labor pool? A hiring hall? Apprenticeships? Training classes? Howard had survived a scandal and attempted ouster the year before, and died as principal in December 1932.