Sunday, October 13, 2013

St. Helena Parish Training School Mass Reunion 1934-1988

Photo courtesy of Dwayne Cook
This is part of history that require more research from records kept in the Louisiana State Department of Education, research papers at area universities and churches in Tangipahoa Parish, especially Kentwood, where many earlier St. Helena scholars received their high school education. Education was also received in homes, churches and schools that were built by people within certain Black neighborhoods, to provide schooling in grades 1-6 or 1-8. This was done because in St. Helena Parish, there was no high school facility for African (Blacks, Negroes, Colored, Slaves, etc.) At the same time, formal state/parish supported education was only available for European Americans ( Whites, Cajuns, and Slave Owners, etc.)

Julius Rosenwarld -(1862-1932) became interested in the welfare of Negroes established the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which had to be spent within 25 years of his death to better condition for Negroes through education. More than 5,000 schools for Negroes in 15 southern states( including Louisiana and especially St. Helena Parish).  He became known as the father  of the Negro Parish Training School, a school for Negroes, located in a Negro community, usually a mile or two from a town.

1947 was the first year the parish sponsored school bus transportation was for available for Blacks. The first drivers were Alva Campbell, Willie Overton, Taylor Miller, Foster Hall and Florence Henry

Therefore  Dr. Alfred Steward, Dr. Elmira Bulter, and Dr. Eunice A. Paddio-Johnson extend thanks to Dr. Willie Gene Johnson, librarians, clerk of court and the many former students of the St. Helena Parish School System for their help.  The land was the first high school was located was once owned by Isaac B. Gordon, who was born a slave.

I would like to thank the board for putting the reunion class book together for the years of 1934-1988 for the following schools: Crossroad, St. Helena Parish Training School, Helena High, St. Helena High. Also I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Bernice Alexander Bennett for giving me a copy and Mrs. Delia  Garrison for providing the book.

Class of 1934
Mable, Wicker

Class of 1939
Samuel Burton, Evelyn Gordon, Percy Hall, Blanch Hampton, Thelma Hampton, Mildred Jackson,
Iona Jones, Ola Montgomery, Alenia Nutter, J.D. Morris, Lille Mae Robinson, Gloria Stewart, 
Lester Yancy

Class of 1940
John Allen Chaney, Charles Hall, Sherman Gordon, Rebecca Tucker, Morgan Andrew

Class of 1941
Susie Bell, Clara Douglas, Leola Hall, Lillie Mae Jackson, Louise Muse, Joseph Rudison, 
James Bradford, Henry Gordon, Beatric Jackson, Mary Etta Melton, Mittie Muse, Mary Elsie Sutton,
Ollie Tillery

Class of 1942
Anna Donald, Louise Gordon, Gladys Gordon, Moran Jones, Charles Matthews, Emmitt Matthews, Matthew McKines.

Class of 1943
Ora Lee Henry, Willie Ramsey, Lottie Mae Huff, Willie Rudison

Class of 1944
Estelle Bell, Allen Wilson Jones, Ida Lee Gordon, Ida Bell Kendrick, Willie Mae Sutton

Class of 1945
Pearly Bennett, Rebecca Jackson, Shirley Hampton, Celistine Wicker, Dorothy Denna Douglass, 
Mildred Jackson, Lille Mae Muse, Imogene Williams

Class of 1946
Mayola Dixon, Bernice Johnson, Vera Vastee Matthews, Almer Rether Gordon, Clyde Yancy,
James McCray, Sophie Evely Martin, Alma Augustine Montogomery, Irene Burton