Busta’s People of the Week: The 14th Street Fantastic Reunion

14th Street Elementary School classes of 1940s-1960s.

Busta’s People of the Week: The 14th Street Fantastic Reunion
August 29
00:50 2019

By Busta Brown

During the 40s, 50s and early 60s, 14th Street in East Winston-Salem was thriving. They called it “Millionaire’s Row.” One of the biggest reasons was the students from 14th Street Elementary School. This prestigious elementary school produced professional athletes, political leaders, and extremely successful businessmen and women.

One of the ways the Alumni Association keeps the legacy alive is the 14th Street Fantastic Reunion. This past Saturday, Aug. 24, was their fourth anniversary and I was fortunate to party with some of them. DJ Mixstyles and I had the 14th Street Recreation Center rocking! They danced like 21 year olds! They sang every lyric to songs such as the 1970’s classic, “Grove Me Baby” by King Floyd, “Disco Lady” by Johnny Taylor, Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” along with classics from Mel Waiters, Cheryl Lynn, The Temptations, The Emotions, and more. When I did the call and response, “All the ladies in the house say hey and somebody scream,” their response was so loud and energetic, they nearly tore the roof off the motha sucka. When DJ Mixstyles played Nelly’s Hip Hop classic, “It’s Getting Hot in Here,” the dance floor was packed. It looked like the good ole days of the BYOB clubs and parties, but with swag and class. One gentleman was dancing in his wheel chair. Another gentleman put a chair on the floor, sat down and got his dance on as well. It was a judgment-free zone, with love, peace and a whole lot of soul. It was the “Grown up, turn up,” and truly a Fantastic Reunion.

Yes, they had plenty of delicious soul food in the house! When it was time to eat and relax, The Triple Threat Line Dance team entertained the turned-up 14th Street alumni, and they used that time to turn down. But it didn’t take long before they were back on their feet doing line dances with Triple Threat. It was one of the best times DJ Mixstyles and I had working together.

Let’s meet some the of the alumni and hear a few stories about the legendary 14th Street Elementary School. “This reunion is centrally for the alumni, but for our fourth anniversary, we thought it would be fitting to invite everyone that attended a historically black elementary school in Winston-Salem, because there’s some things that we need to collaborate on for our young people in our communities. We’re using this as a springboard to get ideas to enhance our young folks’ education,” said retired educator Alfred Harvey. Harvey is extremely passionate about giving our youth a sense of pride for the Winston-Salem community and its wealth of history. “They need to know about history such as the Safe Bus, the only black-owned bus company in the history of the United States of America, and it was right here in Winston-Salem.”

Last week Alfred visited the historical black museum in Washington, D.C. and he had one big disappointment: “There was no mention of the Safe Bus. That was the only bus where blacks didn’t have to sit in the back. You could always sit where you wanted. So, where I go, I tell people I’m from land of the free and home of the brave … Winston-Salem.” 

“We’re here to celebrate what the school means to us. It was a very good structure in our lives, and it was such a great support system. We were taught that we will learn and have learned the importance of discipline as well. And we enjoy getting together with each other,” said Marva Reid.

Before there was NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Carver High School had a superstar point named Edward Plowden, better known as Fast Eddie. “I graduated from Carver in 1969, we were 34 and 4. I went to 14th Elementary School as well, and grew up in Cleveland Avenue projects. I get to see friends I haven’t seen in 40 to 45 years. And we may have fought sometimes, but because of our parents and the teachers at 14th School, everybody was friends the next day. That’s a big difference than what’s happening today.”

I asked Fast Eddie about his basketball skills and he didn’t hesitate to share. “One of my most memorable moments was the game against Atkins in the old coliseum. Steve Joyner, who’s now the coach at Johnson C. Smith, came across to block my lay-up, and I spun around on him and flipped it up in his face,” he said while smiling, with a slight chuckle and chewing gum.

His teammate Alfred Harvey got in on the conversation about the historical game. “Fast Eddie was the first person to do the crossover and finger roll,” as he dapped his long-time buddy.

I met Elnora; she had one of the most perfectly round and beautiful silver Afros I’ve ever seen. She was excited to share her experience at 14th Street as well. “My teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, had a lot of influence on me. She was responsible for most of my basic learning. She taught me that sometimes you’re not picked for what you think you want to do. It was a person in my class that I thought would excel above me, but Mrs. Jenkins came to me and said, ‘You can go above and beyond her and anyone else,’ and I still carry that spirit with me today.”

I left the 14th Street Recreation Center with even more of a sense of pride for Winston-Salem. I left thinking, “No more excuses for lack of hard work,” excited to share these testimonials with my children and students. To remind them that the ability to learn is in their DNA, so choosing not to get a great education is not an option – It’s a must. Speaking with the 14th Street alumni confirmed even more that there’s a solution to every problem, and success and winning only seems impossible if you don’t try. Every effort you make is one step toward your solution and success.

I missed the third year, but I’ve been very fortunate and truly honored to be a part of the first two years of the Fantastic 14th Street Reunion, and I look forward to the fifth anniversary.

As the radio legend Tom Joyner would say, “It’s a party with a purpose.”

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors