14th Street School holds all-class reunion

resident of the local NAACP branch and student at 14th Street School Isaac “Ike” Howard (L) greets an old classmate and teammate during the all-class reunion on Saturday, Aug. 13. Howard, who played profes-sional football for the Dallas Cowboys, said 14th Street School made a major impact on the lives of many African-American males in East Winston.

14th Street School holds all-class reunion
August 18
07:55 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Alumni of segregated school look back during their first homecoming 



After years of discussions and months of planning and preparing, more than 200 former students, teachers and others with ties to 14th Street School got together last weekend for their first all-class reunion.

The school that once stood on the corner of E. 14th Street and Cameron Avenue educated African-American students in Forsyth County before forced integration in the early 1970s.

Since earlier this year, alumni have held monthly and at times, weekly meetings to prepare for the reunion. President of the East Winston Neighborhood Association and 14th Street alumnus Marva Reid said she was happy to be able to connect with people she hasn’t seen in years. According to Reid, since May, alumni have been meeting at 14th Street Recreation Center planning the weekend of festivities.

She said every week more people showed up for the meeting, asking how they could help.

“It began as just a small group of us, but once word got out about what we were trying to do, the group began to grow,” continued Reid. “It feels good to see all the hard work come to life.”

During the reunion held on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the site where the school once stood, Lester Davis was armed with his camera to document the special moment.

“It feels good to see people you haven’t seen in years,” continued Davis. “Just being here today brings back a lot of memories.”

While catching up with his former classmates, president of the local NAACP branch Isaac “Ike” Howard said 14th Street School was where his infatuation with the game of football first began. Howard, who played at Carver High School, went on to play at Colorado University. In 1969, Howard signed a contract to play for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL).

Howard said the school’s contributions to the community were just as important as historic black high schools Atkins and Carver.

“Just as Carver and Atkins had a major impact on East Winston community, 14th Street had the same type of impact,” he said. “At those schools students learned how to do things the right way and not to take shortcuts.”

A number of city and state officials were also on hand to mark the occasion. Sen. Paul Lowe, Councilman Derwin Montgomery, Board of Education members Robert Barr, Deanna Taylor, and David Singletary, attended the event as well.

Just before spotting an old friend, Charles Miller said next year he thinks even more alumni will attend the reunion.

“Now that the word is out, this will continue to grow every year,” he continued. “14th Street was like a family. That’s why it gives me a special feeling to be here today.”

On Monday afternoon, president of the 14th Street Reunion Committee Al Harvey said he was thankful he was able to help.

During a phone interview with The Chronicle, Harvey mentioned he and other alumni were still talking about the reunion. He said they are already planning for next year.

“It was truly a great day for East Winston and a tremendous day for the city of Winston-Salem,” he said. “It’s good to see so many people come together to celebrate the heritage of this community.”

Although they are planning for future reunions, Harvey said the committee is also looking at ways they can change the narrative of schools in the inner city. Harvey, a lifelong educator who recently retired from Atkins Academic & Technology High School located on Old Greensboro Road, said, “The 14th Street Reunion Committee is looking to help bring change to schools in this area when it comes to educating students of color.

“For communities like East Winston, we need more schools like 14th Street, where the teachers care about the overall wellbeing of their students,” said Harvey. “We are working to bring these types of schools back to the area.”

“Our schools are failing and we want to play a part in changing that narrative. If we still had community schools like 14th Street School, we wouldn’t be having nearly as many issues with our schools,” he continued. “It’s time we go back to the old way of doing things.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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