Wilson Daily Times, 25 May 1936.
Wilson Mirror, 9 May 1888.
Twenty-five year-old Samuel H. Vick had been teacher and principal at the Colored Graded School since shortly after his graduation from Lincoln University. A year after this graduation, he was appointed by President William H. Harrison to his first stint as Wilson postmaster, a highly sought-after political patronage position. Vick hired his old friend Braswell R. Winstead, with whom he had attended high school and college and taught at the Graded School, as assistant postmaster. Teacher A. Wilson Jones was married to Vick’s sister Nettie Vick Jones — and murdered her in 1897. Annie Washington was about 18 years old when this article was published. She and Samuel Vick married almost exactly four years later.
The program for the graduation exercises of Darden High School’s Class of 1944 was reprinted in a Wilson Daily Times supplement “Darden Alumni: Sustaining the Vision,” 28 February 2007. Until 1943, Darden had offered only eleven grades. The Class of ’44 thus was a first.
I was astonished to realize that this article memorializes the first commencement exercises at the Independent School — here called by its full and official name, the Wilson Normal and Industrial Institute. As chronicled here and here and here, a coalition of African-American parents and religious and civic leaders founded the Independent School (also known as the Industrial School) in the wake of an assault on a black teacher by the white school superintendent.
I have not been able to identify Judge William Harrison of Chicago, who delivered to the new school’s graduates a remarkably unprogressive message that seemingly flew in the face of the stand for civil rights the community had resolutely made just a year earlier. The Times reporter made no mention of the school’s genesis, preferring to focus at length on Harrison’s message of admiration for the white man’s guidance and fine example.
Wilson Daily Times, 31 May 1919.
- Judge William Harrison
- Prof. S.H. Vick — Samuel H. Vick furnished a building on Vance Street to house the new school.
- Rev. A.L.E. Weeks — Alfred L.E. Weeks was a member of the Colored Ministerial Union committee appointed to address the community’s concerns to the school board.
- Joseph S. Jackson — Joseph S. Jackson Jr.
- Boisy Barnes — Boisey O. Barnes.
- Lester Mitchell — in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Nash Street, Annie Mitchell, 70, her children Sallie, 46, Eddie, 44, Albert, 42, Eva, 36, and Floyd, 34, plus niece Sevreane, 18, and nephew Lester, 15.
- Willard Crawford — probably, Daniel Willard Crawford who died 16 October 1964 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 1 January 1900 in Wilson County to Daniel Crawford and Annie Whitted; was never married; and worked as a carpenter. Walter H. Whitted was informant.
- Addie Davis — Addie Davis Butterfield.
- Rev. R.N. Perry — Episcopal priest Robert N. Perry was also on the Ministerial Union’s committee.
- Lillian Wilson — perhaps, in the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: livery stable groom William Wilson, 51; wife Sarah, 48, and daughters Elen, 23, and Lillian, 21, both tobacco factory workers.
In 1928, Wilson Colored High School was led by principal William H.A. Howard and teachers F. Meredith (math), J.E. Amos (home economics), J.F. Anderson (science), C.F. Hunt (English), and B.M. Davis (history and French).
- Jennie Moring Parker Kerbo, prophet (1909-2006, daughter of Charles and Maggie Hedgepeth Parker)
- Herman Bess, valedictorian (possibly, son of William and Ada Best)
- Ada Elizabeth Harris Reid Sharpe, treasurer (1908-2010, daughter of Leander and Lucy Brooks Harris)
- Esther Lue Purdie, president (1907-??, daughter of Street P. and Lenora Bethea Purdie)
- Walter Jefferson Giles, vice president (1909-2001, son of George W. and Lucettie Sutton Giles)
- Vivian Elizabeth Peacock Smith, secretary (1909-1999, daughter of Levi H. and Hannah Pyatt Peacock)
- Odelle Whitehead Barnes, salutatorian (1912-2011, daughter of J. Henry and Victoria Ennis Whitehead)
- Mattie Smith, poet
- Henderson Jesse Cooke, orator (1910-1971, son of Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke)
- Catherine W. Whitehead Bynum, giftarian (1910-1999, daughter of J. Henry and Victoria Ennis Whitehead)
- Maggie M. Ricks, alphabet (1909-??, probably, daughter of Ed and Nannie Gaston Ricks)
- Beatrice Taylor Barnes, pianist (1912-1995, daughter of Russell B. and Viola Gaither Taylor)
- Mary Street, historian
- Cora Miller Washington Artis, class soloist (1909-??, daughter of George W. and Cora Miller Washington)
- Ruby Speight, critic
- Isaac Artis
- Sarah Virginia Thomas Bryant (1909-1992, daughter of Charles and Sarah Best Thomas)
- Pearl Foreman
- Cora Bell Exum Lane, class will (1908-1984, daughter of Frank and Mamie Johnson Exum)
- Clara Battle (1908-??, daughter of Joseph and Gertrude Battle)
- Martha Bedford Savage Lucas (1907-1965, daughter of Frank and Serena Woodard Savage)
- Naomi Scott Edwards (1910-??, daughter of Charles and Susie Ann Jones Edwards)
As was their principal, the Colored High School’s teachers seem to have been short-term Wilson residents:
- F. Meredith — in the 1928 Wilson city directory, duplicate entries (though the names differ slightly): Wm. J.F. Meredith, school teacher, 624 East Green; James Meredith, school teacher, Wilson High School, 624 East Green. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Edwin W. Fisher, 56, district manager insurance company; wife Daisey V., 52; daughter Susie A., 21; and lodgers James F. Anderson, 26, Indiana-born school teacher, and William Meredith, 25, Tennessee-born school teacher.
- J.E. Amos — in the 1928 Wilson city directory, Jane E. Amos, teacher, Wilson High School, 111 Pender. In the 1930 city directory, Jane E. Amos, teacher, Wilson High School, 919 Atlantic. However, in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 919 East Nash, brickmason James Russell, 42; wife Julia, 42; and daughter Annie, 7, plus lodger James E. Amos, 41, South Carolina-born school teacher. This is surely Jane E. Amos.
- J.T. Anderson — see James F. Anderson at F. Meredith, above.
- B.M. Davis — in the 1928 Wilson City directory, Bessie M. Davis, teacher, Wilson High School, 908 East Nash. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 913 East Green Street, teachers Ruth A. Brown, 23, of Nevada; Annie Wilson, 25, of North Carolina; Lucile Wynn, 22, of Virginia; and Bessie Davis, 28, of Washington, D.C.
- C.F. Hunt — in the 1928 Wilson City directory, Cornelia F. Hunt, teacher, Wilson High School, 1009 East Nash. In the 1930 city directory, Cornelia F. Hunt, teacher, Wilson High School, 910 East Green. This is likely the Cornelia Frances Hunt born in 1907 in Granville County, North Carolina.
Photograph courtesy of Darden Alumni Center, Wilson.
From the Darden Alumni Center, a graduation photo of the 1944 class:
- Adelaide Lee Barnes Brown (1924-1983, daughter of Leonard and Adelaide White Barnes)
- Dicy Cora Lee Becton (1924-??, daughter of Zanger and Louisa Broadhurst Becton)
- David Renaldo Blue (1924-1964, son of Joseph and Lula McNeill Blue)
- Frank Junius Brake (1925-2009, son of Willie and Elizabeth Smith Brake)
- Virginia Branch
- Grace LaNelle Coley Hansen (1926-??, daughter of David and Cora Speight Coley)
- Eunice Delores Cooke Fleming (1926-1992, daughter of Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke)
- Dora E. Dickerson (1924, daughter of Fred and Almeta Edmundson Dickerson)
- Inez Dickerson Bell (1926, daughter of Fred and Almeta Edmundson Dickerson)
- Pauline Elizabeth Farmer Jones White (1925-2016, daughter of Paul and Cora Rountree Farmer)
- Ernestine Elizabeth Floyd Goode (1925-1988, daughter of Ambrose and Mattie Moye Floyd)
- Marjorie Foster Moore (1926-??)
- Charles Eugene Freeman (1926-1960, son of Julius Jr. and Pattie Hagans Freeman)
- Lula Mae Holiday Hill (1924-??, daughter of Wesley and Rosa Brown Holiday)
- DeVeria Ann Jackson Turner Wing (1924-??, daughter of Benjamin and Annie Lee Farmer Jackson)
- Classie Lillie Jones Jarman (1925-1993, daughter of Wash and Jessie Norfleet Staton)
- Elbernice Jones
- Annie Doris Joyner Kornegay Best (1925-??, daughter of Eddie and Annie Pearl Wynn Joyner)
- Almeta Latham Farmer (1925-2017, daughter of James and Marzella Jones Latham)
- Susie Gray Moody James (1925-1957, daughter of Charlie and Martha Jones Moody)
- Hattie E. Morris
- Emma Lee Moye (1925-1960, daughter of Fred and Fannie Bone Moye)
- Margaret McNeil (1925-1976)
- William Margolus Reid (1923-2001, son of Willie and Mary Galley Reid)
- Olivia Deborah Roberson (1927-1990, daughter of Albert and Lela Worsley Roberson)
- Coach Vernon Rogers (1925-1997, son of Millard and Maggie Williams Rogers)
- Annie Doris Rountree Williams (1925-??, Wiley and Mary Barnes Rountree)
- Erastus Speight
- Hubert Odell Speight (1922-2009, son of Gray Edmundson and Christine Speight)
- Mary Lou Spivey (1926-??, daughter of Henry and Mary Spivey)
- Dorothy Elinor Stokes Whitehead (1925-2001, daughter of James and Viola Reese Stokes)
- Clara B. Taylor (1924-??, daughter of Willie and Eva Taylor)
- Mary Joyce Taylor Stokes Crisp (1926-2008, daughter of Roderick and Mary J. Pender Taylor)
- Allen Williams
- Argie Williams Boykin (1925-1974)
- Callie Mae Williams Rountree
- Augustine Wynn
From the Darden Alumni Center:
First row: Elizabeth C. Edwards (1929-??, daughter of Rosa L. Edwards); Lenore McCoy; Annie Doris Battle; Merline Hussey Brooks; Trumiller Beatrice Wimberly; Henrietta Hines McIntosh (1927-??, daughter of Charlie and Eva Hines); Doris Vivian Smith; Pauline Lorine Coley Ellis (1928-??, daughter of Alonzo and Pauline McQueen Coley); Christine Margaret Snow.
Second row: James Douglass George (1926-??, son of Walter D. and Eunice George); Helen Grey Woodard Travis (1931-1999, John and Emilie Woodard); Doris Simms; Jean Orlmiller Gilchrist (daughter of Cannon and Ruth Norfleet Gilchrist); Mamie Ruth Ellis (1930-??, Oscar and Mamie Bynum Ellis); Daisy Hilda Winstead Hinnant Brooks (1928-1979, daughter of Sam and Mattie Pope Winstead); Mary Magdalene Knight Lathan (1930-2012), daughter of Johnnie and Gertrude Thomas Knight); Grace Emily Hodges Dunlap (1930-2008, daughter of Nathaniel and Bessie Sutton Hodges); Mary Frances Diggs Hargis (1930-1971, daughter of Edgar and Mary Grant Diggs); Agnes Marie Hoskins (1929-??, daughter of Lonnie and Gertrude Simms Hoskins); Ozie Lee Pender Hobbs (1928-2010, daughter of Albert and Mary Pender); Winford Lee Morgan (1931-2000, son of James and Addie Fisher Morgan).
Third row: Charles Seville Plater (1929, son of Simon T. and Ruth Jones Plater); Commillus Woodard (1928-1994, son of James and Geneva Powell Woodard); Charles Edward Hines (1929-??, son of Wesley and Lucy Ellis Hines); Freddy Blue (1927-??, son of Joe and Lula McNeal Blue); Willie Jones; James Melvin Barnes; William Taft Williams Jr.; Annie Miller Stokes (1930-??, daughter of James and Viola Reese Stokes).
Fourth row: Edwin Dawson; Wade Nicholas Lassiter (1928-??, son of Jesse C. and Lessie Dew Lassiter); Edward Kerphew Harris (1930-2007, son of Benjamin and Pauline Artis Harris); James Henry Spivey (1930-??, son of Henry and Mary Clarks Spivey); Beatrice Wendella McNeil Hines (1928-2007, daughter of Matthew and Ola Belle Jiggette McNeil); Jesse Adam Henderson (1929-2003, son of Hattie M. Henderson Ricks and Roderick Taylor Sr.); Ralph Cornell Gay (1928-1992, son of Albert and Annie Bell Jacobs Gay); James Nicholson Jr.; Leotis Reid (1926-2011, son of Oscar and Nora Artis Reid); Richard Lee Barnes; Walter Harold Canady; Nathaniel Webster Mewborn.
Darden High School’s Class of 1948 was the first to produce a yearbook. Here’s the senior section:
Another Darden Alumni Center gem — the Class of 1940:
First row: Mildred Artis; Millicent Monroe Harvey; Larnetta Pauline Howell Braxton (1922-1997, daughter of Harry and Annie Thompson Howell); Vanilla Powell Beane (1919, daughter of James and Martha Hagans Powell); Gertrude Ennis Whitehead (1924-1992, daughter of John H. and Victoria Ennis Whitehead); Bertie Romaine Hagans (1924-??, daughter of Oscar and Bertie Ward Hagans); Lillian Verrill Black (1922-??, daughter of Grover and Martha Melvin Black); Ruby Jane Lassiter (1923-1943, daughter of Jesse C. and Lessie Dew Lassiter); Hattie Lee Dixon Nimo; Johnnie Mae Everette; Colonius Junius Best (1919-2007, son of Junius and Mary Smith Best); Weldon Williams; Louis Delaney (son of George and Maria Richburg Delaney); Magdelene McNair.
Second row: William Potts; Willie Jones; Elizabeth Pauleze Coley (1923-??, David H. and Eva Speight Coley); Beatrice Chambliss Gay (1920-??, daughter of John and Bertha Chambliss); Mary Etta Coley Frink (1920-1995, daughter of Alonzo and Pauline McQueen Coley); Sarah Toney; Minnie Beatrice Battle Lassiter Williams (1919-2006, daughter of Norman and Ellen Lucas Battle); Magdelene Hargrove; Charles Elva Kittrell (1918-1990, son of Solomon and Lettie Roberts Kittrell); John D. Murphy (1921-1960, Raymond and Eula Floyd Murphy); Frances Lela Bowens Hansome (1923-2007, Jacob C. and Flossie Cobbs Bowens); Mary C. Barnes Moore; Harold Elmer Gay (1920-1979, son of Albert and Annie Bell Jacobs Gay); Donald Gordon Tabron (1922-2007, son of T. Henry and Mattie Smith Tabron).
Third row: Willia B. Jones Turner (1923-2018), daughter of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones); Ella Godette; Marion Vernon Jones (1919-1975, son of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones); William Allen Sheridan (1921-1984, son of Robert H. and Fannie McCollum Sheridan); Jerry Lee Cooke Jr. (1924-1963, son of Jerry and Clara Godette Cooke); Clarence Edward Woodard (1925-1968); Quentin Alston Farmer (1921-1975); John Henry Mincey (1919-1982, son of Benjamin and Mattie Barnes Mincey); Levi Simmons (son of Junius and Clara Simmons).
More from the walls of the Darden Alumni Center, a graduation photo of the C.H. Darden High School Class of 1945:
The photograph is not labeled, but below is a list of members of the class:
- Mary E. Anderson Bynum
- Mattie B. Bynum Jones (1926-??, daughter of Irene Bynum)
- Lunia M. Cannady Farmer Amy (1927-1992, Albert M. and Sylvan Andrews Cannady)
- Jasper Allison Coley Jr. (1927-1986, Jasper and Lydia Meeks Coley)
- Gladys M. Darden Farmer
- Gladys Cordelia Ellis
- Dorothy M. Farmer
- Elizabeth Farmer
- Mattie I. Ford (1925-??, daughter of Evander and Chellie Ford)
- Virginia Dare Ford Bynum (1926-??, daughter of William and Lillie Gauss Ford)
- Mary Louise Gilchrist Leazer (1926-2014, daughter of Cannon and Ruth Norfleet Gilchrist)
- Gloria Anetta Hagans Bethea (1926-??, daughter of Isaac and Essie Mae Farmer Hagans)
- Helen J. Harrison Coburn (1927-2015, daughter of Eli W. and Rosa Harrison)
- Doris Haskins (probably, Doris Lee Haskins, 1926-??, daughter of Moses and Minnie Eva Woodard Haskins)
- Roland Esmon Hayes (1926-1978, son of James and Lula Sutton Hayes)
- Herman Wesley Hines (1926-2014, son of Wesley and Lucy Hines)
- Alva Montee Hodge Wilson (1927-??, daughter of Ben H. and Rogene Barnes Hodge)
- James Thomas Jones (1927-2011, son of Wesley and Martha Taylor Jones)
- Odessa Mae Jones Simms (1927-1977, daughter of Winford and Mary Edwards Jones)
- Clara Mae Knight Cromartie (1925-2007, daughter of Willie H. and Florence Jones Knight)
- Gretchen Gray Marshall Reid (1928-1992, daughter of John and Annie Perrington Marshall)
- Lois McCall (1924-??, daughter of Oscar and Florence McEachin McCall)
- Mary Etta McCoy Henderson (1927-1989, daughter of Russell and Ometa Smith McCoy)
- John J. Melton Jr. (1926-1988, son of John and Cora M. Barnes Melton)
- Mary R. Moore (1925-??, daughter of Lewis and Maude Moore)
- Evangeline Vonzell Royall Darity (1926-1994, daughter of Dock and Ossie Mae Jenkins Royall)
- Gladys Ruffin
- Robert Elton Speight (1926-??, son of Theodore E. and Marie Thomas Speight)
- Thelma Percel Speight (1924-2000), daughter of Christine V. Speight)
- McCartie Watson
- Marquerette White
- Victoria Whitehead McCray (1927-2017, daughter of John H. and Victoria Ennis Whitehead)
- Nancy Gray Wilkins King (1927-1981, daughter of Washington and Nancy Adams Wilkins)
- Lindbergh Wilson (1927-??)
- Alma G. Woodard (1927-??, daughter of Sylvester and Blossie Woodard)