Charleston School Was First In Community To Integrate

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CHARLESTON (KFSM) -- As she sat on the park bench in front of the high school, Mary Belle-Ervin recalled starting her Charleston schooling in the first grade.

As we remember the Little Rock Nine on the 60th anniversary, she too remembers when Charleston became the first to integrate in our community.

"There were a few that did object, but they weren't the majority," she said.

They certainly weren't the majority when the Charleston School Board voted on the agenda item.

"The motion passed, 5-0," explained Charleston superintendent, Jeff Stubblefield.

"This has always been a very trusting, compassionate community," said Belle-Ervin.

Until the integration in the fall term of 1954, black students in the area were being transported to Lincoln High School.

"The men that we elected to serve on the school boards were of good character and they knew that doing the right thing was the only way to go," Belle-Ervin continued.

Added Stubblefield, "If you knew the people that were making the decisions, they were progressive in themselves."

He also said the example of equality of inclusion the board set forth then still holds true today.


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