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View Full Version : All-White High School Reunion Saddens Some [USA]



Nordhammer
Wednesday, October 6th, 2004, 01:46 PM
Gretchen Parker, AP, Sept. 22


PRINCESS ANNE, Md.—The ballroom is decorated with floor-to-ceiling paintings of shiny soda fountains, classic cars and the old store windows downtown. A stoop juts out from a rendering of the high school facade, so graduates can sit and talk—just like in the old days.

And just like in the old days, not everyone in town is invited.

The reunion Saturday is only for those who graduated from Washington High School before it opened its doors to black students in the fall of 1969.

Some black leaders say the all-white reunion is sad and painful evidence that 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed school segregation, some things have not changed all that much in this community on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

“It’s just as divided as it’s ever been,” said Leon Johnson, a black political activist who worked behind the scenes in Somerset County in 1960s. “The old folks did a good job of teaching the young ones, of teaching them the old system.”

Organizers call the reunion a “Grand Homecoming” for graduates from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. The event, last held in 1999, draws about 700 alumni. It is independently organized and is not affiliated with the public school system.

Mickey Wigglesworth, a retired banker and 1957 graduate who has spent the past year organizing the event at the Somerset County Civic Center, said there was no intent to exclude blacks.

Instead, he said, it is a gathering of students from three decades who share music and culture from the era of sock hops and jukeboxes. “This would have no appeal to them,” he said of the post-1969 grads.

The integrated post-1969 classes at Washington High hold their own reunions periodically, but they are smaller and are not promoted as community events. The Grand Homecoming, by contrast, gets a weekly mention on the front of the county newspaper’s style section, under old photos of the boys’ basketball teams and girls’ softball teams. A colorful flier posted downtown asks Washington High graduates up to 1969 to “Travel back in time to those good, old years.”

“We’re still a divided county,” said Kirkland Hall, a former president of the county’s NAACP chapter and a 1969 graduate of Princess Anne’s black high school, Somerset High. Of the county’s 25,000 residents, 41 percent are black.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education came down in 1954, but it was another 15 years before any schools in Somerset County integrated.

The 1960s saw fierce, sometimes violent, resistance to integration in restaurants and in public facilities across the Eastern Shore. Fiery riots broke out in the town of Cambridge in 1963. In 1964, students at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore campus in Princess Anne—then known as the all-black Maryland State College—were driven back with firehoses when they marched into town to protest segregation.

Princess Anne, the site of Maryland’s last lynching in 1933, did not integrate any public buildings until 1964. Not until 1968 did any white schools on the Eastern Shore open to black students.

“It would be nice if the class of 1969 of both schools would have a reunion. We might have something in common,” Hall said, adding after a pause: “I don’t think too many people would be up to the idea.”

Hall’s friends from Somerset High have urged him to organize an all-black reunion that could rival the Grand Homecoming in size. But Hall said: “I don’t think that’s the way to go.”

H. DeWayne Whittington, a 1948 graduate of what was then called Crisfield Colored High School, eventually became the first black superintendent of Somerset County schools, in 1988. He won a lawsuit against the county four years later when it did not renew his contract, and the system was forced to name a school for him.

Whittington said he is less irritated by the Grand Homecomings than he is by the distribution of scholarship money raised at the event. A total of $9,500 has been awarded in 19 scholarships, but only to children of alumni who graduated before integration

Whittington has helped organize relatively small, multiyear reunions that raise $3,000 annually in scholarships for the children of black alumni. “It came to that point,” he said, “because blacks found that out and said, ‘Let’s try to do something for our kids.’“

The separate reunions are a symptom of a lack of black political leadership in the county, Whittington said. No black politicians have pressed for a stop to the practice.

Blacks held few public offices on the Eastern Shore before Hall sued the state in 1993 to keep out-of-town property owners from voting in municipal elections. It was not until 1999 that a black politician was elected to the state Legislature from the Eastern Shore.

Of the racial divide, Hall said: “It’s one of those things I’ve been fighting so long, I’m just tired.”

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Comments:

As long as Blacks can openly practice racial solidarity through the Constitutional right of Freedom of Association, with no criticism, or media interest; then everybody else should have that right also. Including Whites. And they should be able to do it, with the same amount of liberal media criticism that the following specific race based associations get, which is NONE............

1) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK ACCOUNTANTS

2) NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS

3) NATIONAL BLACK NURSES ASSOCIATION

4) U.OF M. BLACK MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

5) NATIONAL BLACK MBA ASSOCIATION

6) BLACK BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

7) BLACK DATA PROCESSING ASSOCIATION

8) ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL WORKERS

9) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS.

10) NATIONAL SOCIETY OF BLACK ENGINEERS

11) NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT EXECUTIVES

12) NATIONAL BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

13) NATIONAL BLACK PROGRAMMERS COALITION

14) BLACK ARTS ALLIANCE

15) BLACK CONGRESS OF HEALTH, LAW AND ECONOMICS

16) ALLIANCE OF BLACK TELE-COMMUNICATION EMPLOYEES

17) ALLIANCE OF BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TECHNICIANS

18) BLACK COACHES ASSOCIATION

19) ORGANIZATION OF BLACK DESIGNERS

20) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK TELECOMMUNICATIONS

21) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SCUBA DIVERS

22) BLACK STUDENT ALLIANCE

23) NATIONAL BLACK VENDORS ASSOCIATION

24) BLACK BROADCASTERS ALLIANCE

25) CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS

26) NATIONAL BLACK UNITED FRONT

27) BLACK EMPOWERMENT ASSOCIATION

28) LACK WOMEN IN SISTERHOOD FOR ACTION(BISA)

29) BLACK STUDENTS ASSOCIATION

30) BLACK CINEMA NETWORK

31) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL WORKERS

32) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL WORKERS

33) NATIONAL BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION

34) NATIONAL BLACK MEDIA COALITION

35) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK OWNED BROADCASTERS

36) BLACK DATA PROCESSING ASSOCIATES

37) BLACK GREEK LETTER ORGANIZATIONS

38) BLACK INFORMATION NETWORK

39) BLACK FILM AND VIDEO GUIDE

40) BLACK LITERATURE CONFERENCE

41) THE BLACK CINEMA NETWORK

42) TUCSON BLACK CHAMBER

43) THE BLACK COLLEGIAN

44) BLACK INFORMATION NETWORK

45) BLACK STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

46) BLACK BUSINESS REFERRAL NETWORK

47) UNIVERSAL BLACK PAGES

48) BLACK URBAN PROFESSIONALS ON LINE

49) ASSOCIATION OF BLACK PSYCHOLOGISTS

50) BLACK PSYCHIATRISTS OF AMERICA

51) NATIONAL BLACK UNITED FUND

52) NATIONAL FORUM FOR BLACK PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS

53) ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIOLOGISTS

54) ASSOCIATION OF BLACK AGENCY EXECUTIVES

55) ASSOCIATION BLACK WOMEN IN PUBLISHING

56) INTERNATIONAL BLACK BUYERS AND MANUFACTURERS EXPO AND CONFERENCE

57) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE

58) NATIONAL BLACK PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY

59) NATIONAL POLITICAL CONGRESS OF BLACK WOMEN

60) 100 BLACK MEN OF AMERICA, INC.

61) ORGANIZATION OF BLACK AIRLINE PILOTS

62) BLACK ASSOCIATION OF NORTH CAMPUS STUDENTS

63) OLENTANGY BLACK STUDENT ASSOCIATION

64) GEORGIA TECH BLACK STUDENTS ASSOCIATION

65) SOUTH AREA BLACK STUDENTS ASSOCIATION

66) UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ASSOCIATIONS OF BLACK COMMUNICATORS

67) NATIONAL BLACK BUSINESS TRADE ASSOCIATION

68) INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS

69) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK GEOLOGISTS AND GEOPHYSICISTS

70) BLACK ASSOCIATIONS OF JOURNALISTS

71) ASSOCIATIONS OF BLACK STUDENTS

Plus literally hundreds of other Black Associations, national and local and their affiliates in all 50 states and in almost all Colleges and Universities across our nation. Most formed long after Jim Crow and White exclusion, as were most of the above.

There are now so many "Black Associations", that there was even an "Association of Black Associations"!

Now, so long as Blacks can openly associate and express racial pride based on the color of their skin, with all of the hundreds of Black exclusive clubs, Black associations, Black organizations, Black unions, Black dorms, Black study halls, Black teacher unions, Black student unions, Black scholarships, a Black TV Network, a Black history month, Black museums, Black Art exhibitions, all based on skin color, and that exist 24/7; I'll be damned if I'm going to go into Politically Correct Convulsions about setting the country back 200 years, because a few Whites in a small town, want to do the same thing for just a few hours during a private party, with their own money, on their own time, and without the endorsement of their public school, or public funds.

It falls under the Constitutional right of FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION. Which apparently in our hypocritical politically correct liberal society, is only a "Black thang, and I wouldn't understand".


Posted by Risorgimento II at 5:52 PM on September 23

Freja
Thursday, October 7th, 2004, 04:42 AM
Now, so long as Blacks can openly associate and express racial pride based on the color of their skin, with all of the hundreds of Black exclusive clubs, Black associations, Black organizations, Black unions, Black dorms, Black study halls, Black teacher unions, Black student unions, Black scholarships, a Black TV Network, a Black history month, Black museums, Black Art exhibitions, all based on skin color, and that exist 24/7; I'll be damned if I'm going to go into Politically Correct Convulsions about setting the country back 200 years, because a few Whites in a small town, want to do the same thing for just a few hours during a private party, with their own money, on their own time, and without the endorsement of their public school, or public funds.

It falls under the Constitutional right of FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION. Which apparently in our hypocritical politically correct liberal society, is only a "Black thang, and I wouldn't understand".


Posted by Risorgimento II at 5:52 PM on September 23

Being Scandinavian, I´ve never realized the extent of which blacks use their skin colour for benefits. All those "Black" associations - I´m speechless! :mad: