In honor of today’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game, the 1947-48 Darden High School girls’ team!
Wilson Daily Times, 11 March 1933.
I had some questions about the American Legion’s circus, and I still do. However, this article shows that it was an annual event, and the white Post sponsored one, too. In 1933, the circus featured a basketball game between Wilson and Greenville’s Black high schools and a dance featuring the “reorganized” Carolina Stompers.
From The Trojan, the yearbook of Charles H. Darden High School, 1948-49.
- Charles E. Branford, coach
- Jimmy Holliday, sophomore forward, born 1933 to W.H. Holliday
- Clarence Reid, junior forward, born 1932 to Johnnie and Vinnie Reid
- Harold Darden, sophomore forward, born 1933 to John and Estelle Darden
- Richard Lewis, sophomore guard
- Herman McNeil, freshman guard, born 1934 to Mathew and Ola Bell Jigett McNeil
- Elroy Jones, senior guard, born 1930 to Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones
- Offie Clark, junior center, born 1932 to William and Katie Elliott Clark
- John Cotton, junior guard, born 1932 to Hilliard Cotton
- Nelson Farmer, freshman guard
- Charlie Floyd, sophomore center
- George Woodard, sophomore guard
- Raymond Harris, freshman forward, born 1933 to Frank and Mamie Carr Harris
Indianapolis Recorder, 20 April 1940.
Hampton Institute (now University) sponsored the first National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in 1929. The tournament aimed to “furnish an opportunity for state champions, runners-up, and teams with unusual records to play in a National Tournament, and to decide the National Championship.” Wilson High School (later Charles H. Darden High) of Wilson was among the field of teams at the first tournament.
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.
Lauraetta J. Taylor (1916-1977), daughter of Russell Buxton and Viola Gaither Taylor, was a legendary women’s basketball coach at Fayetteville State University. A gymnasium on campus is named in her honor.
Pittsburgh Courier, 26 March 1977.
In the 1920 census of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: on Johnston Bow, preacher Russell B. Taylor, 35; wife Viola, 31, seamstress; and children Beatrice, 7, Janett, 5, and Sarah, 1.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on East Nash Street, Methodist minister Russell B. Taylor, 48, widower; children Laura, 14, Sarah, 11, Christopher, 7, and William, 4; daughter Beatrice Barnes, 18, public school teacher, and her son Elroy, 1; and lodgers Cora Speight, 49, laundress, and Mamie Williams, 30, ironer, and Roscoe McCoy, 32, farm laborer.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 536 East Nash, preacher and public school teacher Russell B. Taylor, 52; children Loretta, 23, and Sarah, 21, both teachers, Leonard, 16, and William, 14; grandson Elroy Barnes, 11; and lodgers Isiar Jones, 36, Virginia-born construction laborer; Mitchell Frazier, 32, South Carolina-born truck driver; John Baldwin, 29, Lumberton, N.C.-born tobacco redrying factory laborer, and his wife Clyde, 26, a native of Wilmington, N.C.
1939 edition of The Ayantee, the yearbook of North Carolina State A.&T. University in Greensboro. Taylor’s sister Sarah G. Taylor graduated from A.&T. that year.
Pittsburgh Courier, 3 December 1938.
Jack Benjamin Sherrod was born in Speed, Edgecombe County, North Carolina, in 1912. Less than two years after this brief article posted, he registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. He listed his mother as Lucy E. Sherrod of 807 E. Nash and his place of employment as the Cherry Hotel.