Creating Caring and Nurturing Educational Environments for African American Children

By Curtis L. Morris; Vivian Gunn Morris | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
The Destruction of a School Community: Can It Be Rebuilt?

I saw a lot of people standing on the street crying. It was just something to see that boom!--knocking the bricks down. After they tore the building down, they left the front part of Trenholm, steps and columns. They left that there for a while. And it was like somebody had died, to pass by there and see that building gone like that.

Fred Johnson, 1998, Retired Principal and Teacher, Trenholm. High and Deshler High School


CLOSING TRENHOLM

On June 4, 1968, Trenholm High School held its last commencement exercises. Wendell Wilkie Gunn, a Tuscumbia native who spent nine of his precollegiate years at Trenholm and was the first African American student admitted to Florence State College, delivered the commencement address. At the time of the address, Gunn was employed as a chemist at Nalco Chemical Company in Chicago. After serving the African American community for more than 90 years, Trenholm High School was being phased out of existence. At the beginning of the fall 1968 school year, all African American students in grades 10 through 12 were assigned to the previously all-white Deshler High School, and grades seven through nine remained at the Trenholm building until the close of the 1968-1969 academic year, at which time the last three grades were also assigned to Deshler. Grades one through six had moved from the Trenholm High School building in 1966 when Southside Elementary School opened its doors, three blocks south of the Trenholm building.

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