Education, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Vocation

Bright lady teacher.

For the better part of a year, the doings of Jonah Williams‘ daughter Clarissa regularly made the society columns of the African-American Raleigh Gazette:


Raleigh Gazette, 30 January 1897.


Raleigh Gazette, 19 June 1897.


Raleigh Gazette, 26 June 1897.


Raleigh Gazette, 18 September 1897.

And then the paper folded.

More than 20 years passed before Clarissa next appeared in print. The “bright lady teacher” had fulfilled her promise and was elected principal of the Colored Graded School. Her tenure was not long, however. Clarissa Williams died of kidney disease on 26 October 1922, at the age of 51.


Wilson Daily Times, 24 September 1918.



4 thoughts on “Bright lady teacher.

  1. Patricia M. Fitch says:

    Thank you for this history…I always knew from family discussions and talks with my grandmother, (Helen) Delzell(e) Whitted that she was a teacher at “the Colored Graded School.” I never had an appreciation for the Years when that occurred. This post makes it clear she was there, at least, in 1918. Her teaching career ended 42 years later upon her retirement, in the spring of 1960. The amazing fact is, it was said at the time of her retirement that her teaching career spanned 60 years meaning she was teaching in Wilson County beginning sometime in 1900. I have no doubt that our family oral history matches fact, but 60 years teaching is almost unbelievable. She told me that she went to” the great Shaw University” when she was 14 years old. Her mother, Cora, washed and ironed for “white folk” and her father, Haywood, had a mule and wagon(drayman) for hauling and moving heavy loads. The Beckwiths were simple “entrepreneurers” who wanted a better life for their only child. They saw Education as the key…laying the foundation for generations to come from their lineage. As an aside, Delzelle Whitted had a beautiful voice and was a soloist when BT Washington laid the cornerstone at 1st Baptist (Jackson Chapel) Church. Again, thank you…Patricia M. Fitch, Esq.

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