Education, North Carolina, Photographs

Spaulding remembers.

Last night, the C.C. Spaulding High School Class of 1965 honored my father at their 50th reunion banquet. He began his coaching and teaching career at this little school in Spring Hope, North Carolina, newly married and fresh out of Saint Augustine’s College. Seven years past Brown v. Board of Education, Nash County schools were still segregated, and the children of Spaulding were mostly from struggling farm families. Neither slender resources at home nor paltry county funding could tamp down a spirit of camaraderie and pride in achievement that lasts even to this day.  Occasionally, when I’m home, we will run into one of my father’s old students or players — now in their late 60s — and they always beam to see him, the first of generations of young men and women who benefitted from his tough, but unstinting, guidance.

I took these photos of Spaulding’s gymnasium on a road ramble in November 2011. The school, now a community center, still anchors little Spring Hope. I have no independent memory of Spaulding — my father left for Rocky Mount City Schools in the late ’60s — but I was cradled there. My mother tells me that, at basketball games, teenaged girls would volunteer to change my diaper while she cheered the team on. The class of ’65 was the first to know me, and I thank them.



Little has changed.

Spaulding 65

Spaulding High School Class of 1965.

Education, Other Documents, Paternal Kin


I’ve been striking gold with the Randalls. A number of Howard University’s yearbooks have been digitized, and searches of random years yielded these Randall collegians, as well as a cousin descended through their grandmother Fannie‘s brother Matthew: Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 8.13.44 PM

Arnetta L. Randall, Class of 1925.

Arnetta was the second daughter and seventh child of George and Fannie Aldridge Randall. (Oscar and Fred Randall were among her brothers.) A teacher and lifelong resident of the District, she never married.


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Mable Margaret Williams, Class of 1933.

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Irvin LeFetus McCaine, Class of 1934.

Irvin L. McCaine married Mable Margaret Williams, daughter of Clarence J. and Daisy B. Aldridge Williams of Goldsboro and later Asheville, North Carolina. Mable’s maternal grandparents were Matthew W. and Fannie Kennedy Aldridge. Here’s Cousin Irvin in high school (Class of 1929), courtesy of an Oakland High School memorial website:

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Frederick Russell Randall, Class of 1942.

Son of Fred R. and Lucille Stewart Randall, Frederick Randall also attended medical school at Howard and briefly practiced at the hospital there before moving to New York City. (Ada Randall Reeves was his sister.)

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The Crisis, December 1962.

Ten or 15 years ago, I received an email message from a professional genealogist in New York who had been hired to research Dr. Frederick Randall’s family. Through her I learned what had become of my great-great-grandfather’s youngest sister Frances Aldridge Locust — Cousin Frederick’s grandmother — whom I’d lost track of after her marriage. She and her husband had changed their surname to Randall, it turns out, and moved to Washington DC. The genealogist and I exchanged information over the course of several emails and letters, and I spoke with Cousin Frederick by phone — among other things, about his interaction with his cousin, and my great-grandfather J. Thomas Aldridge — but I never got the opportunity to meet him. I Googled his name tonight and found this:

RANDALL–Frederick R., MD. 91. Former Surgeon and Professor of Surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He had compassion for his patients; and wisdom for his students. A devoted husband and loving father, he leaves Elizabeth [W. Glover], his wife of over 68 years and his sons, Derek and John. A bereaved family is consoled by cherished memories. What be it worth the life of a man, but that which he himself has given to it? This strong man gave much. Published in The New York Times on Apr. 6, 2014.
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.


Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Cousin Mamie in the news.

As I’ve mentioned, for reasons unclear, my grandmother was close to her father’s first cousins, sisters Fannie Aldridge Randolph of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Mamie Aldridge Abrams Rochelle of Union, South Carolina. Among my grandmother’s papers, I found cards and notes from Cousin Mamie, including this one sent in early 1980:

ALDRIDGE -- M Rochelle to H Ricks re Article

And here’s the article itself:

ALDRIDGE -- M Rochelle Article

Education, Newspaper Articles, Other Documents, Vocation

Where we worked: educators.

Henry W. McNeely, Mount Ulla NC — schoolteacher, circa 1870.

Joseph C. Carroll, Wayne County NC — second grade teacher, circa 1880.

John W. Aldridge, Wayne County NC — second grade teacher, circa 1880.

George W. Aldridge, Wayne County NC — first grade teacher, circa 1880.

Matthew W. Aldridge, Wayne County NC — second grade teacher, circa 1880.

ALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School RecordsALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School Records 2

Henry E. Hagans, Goldsboro NC — principal, State Colored Normal School, circa 1892-1920.

     The State Colored Normal School opened in this city yesterday, of which Prof. H.E. Hagans, son of Napoleon Hagans, one of the most respected and prosperous colored men in the State, from the Fremont section, has recently been elected principal.  The ARGUS is glad to note his election.  He merited the preferment, and we wish the school all success under his administration.  [– Goldsboro Weekly Argus, Thursday, 15 Sep 1892]

Clarissa Williams, Wilson NC — teacher, Eureka; Wilson Colored Graded School, circa 1890-1922.

     2 Feb 1901.  Called meeting of the Board, all present. Secretary stated that he had received the resignation of Mrs. Hunt as teacher of 5th grade, Col. school. Resignation accepted to take effect at once. Motion made that Clarrissy Williams be elected to fill the unexpired term of Mrs. Hunt.  Carried. There being no further business Board adjourned, by order of Geo. Hackney, Chairman  E.P. Mangum, Rec. Sec’y

     27 May 1901. Miss Clarissa Williams re-elected a teacher.

     9 June 1902. Teachers elected for Colored School: J.D. Reid, principal; Miss Clarissa Williams; Mrs. Annie Vick; Miss Geneva Battle; Miss Sallie Dortch (Goldsboro, N.C.) [from Minutes of the Wilson Graded Schools, bound volume, Wilson County Public Library]

Tabitha Pace Brunson, Garland AR – teacher, circa 1920.

Louise Colvert Renwick, Statesville NC — teacher, 1920s.

Golar Colvert Bradshaw, Iredell County NC — teacher, 1920s-30s.

Lillie Colvert Stockton, Statesville NC — teacher, Iredell County Schools, 1920s.

Mamie Aldridge Abrams Rochelle, Goldsboro NC, Union SC — teacher, circa 1930-1960s.

Arnetta L. Randall, Washington DC — teacher, Knoxville TN, circa 1930; Washington DC, circa 1940.

Fannie Randall Dorsey, Washington DC — teacher, circa 1930.

Vivian Manley Smith, Wayne County NC — teacher, circa 1930.

Margaret Colvert Allen, Statesville NC — teacher, circa 1930.

Marion Allen Lomans, Newport News VA — teacher, John Marshall School, 1935-1942.

Daisy Aldridge Williams, Asheville NC — teacher, circa 1940.

Mable Williams McCaine, Asheville NC — teacher, circa 1940.

Price B. Brown, Salisbury NC — teacher, circa 1940.

Sallie Bullock Brown, Salisbury NC — wife of Price Brown, “library work at school,” circa 1940.

Oscar Randall, Chicago IL — mathematics teacher, DuSable High School, circa 1940.


The eighth in an occasional series exploring the ways in which my kinfolk made their livings in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Photographs, Virginia

Marion Allen Lomans.

She was the aunt for whom my aunt was named. She was a teacher. She married late and had no children. And she died when my mother was small. That was about all I knew about my grandfather’s oldest sister, Marion Ellen Allen Lomans.

My uncle let me copy a scarred and badly tinted photo:

Marion Lomans

She looked like an Allen sister, but I was no less mystified. (Frankly, other than Aunt Julia, they were all a bit mysterious — how did I never meet Aunt Edith?  Or Aunt Nita until I was an adult? Or even Uncle Buster, who lived right in Newport News?)

And then M., my mother’s first cousin, sent this picture, which charmed me to no end — Aunt Marion and her students at John Marshall School:

Marion Allen & class

And then I found her obituary:


Virginian Pilot, 15 November 1942.

And so I learned a few more things: that, despite her marriage to Mr. Lomans, a World War I veteran whom she had married “recently” and whose Christian names were actually Gillespie Garland, she was still living at home at the time of her death. That she was a member of the United Order of Tents (a secretive charitable organization founded by black women in the mid-19th century) and the Good Samaritans (another?). That she taught for only six years. That Aunt Tee — that’s Edith — was unmarried and living in New York City when Marion died.  That Marion died at Whittaker Memorial Hospital, an institution that her father served as a board member.  That she was buried from Zion Baptist,  the church that nurtured her father. Still, who was she?

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Oral History, Photographs

She was smart, and she was musical.



Statesville Colored Graded School Closed Tuesday Night with a Very Creditable Performance.

The closing exercises of the Statesville graded school were held Tuesday night in the new building. Before the exercises began at 8.30, a representative of this paper had the pleasure of looking thru the building and inspecting the most creditable exhibits of the work accomplished by the pupils of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades. The exhibit showed surprising skill in drawing, sewing, fancy needle work and other forms of handiwork.

When the exercises began, the auditorium and two adjoining school rooms were filled, and the good order maintained was a noticeable feature.  The opening chorus and duet by members of the graduating class were much appreciated by the audience.

“Resolved: That girls are more expensive to raise than boys,” was the subject of the debate discussed in an interesting manner by Eugene Harris and Harry Chambers, on the affirmative, and Guy B.Golden and Jettie M. Davidson, on the negative.


Class History.      Buster B. Leach

Class Prophecy.   Annie B. Headen

Class Poem.      Willie D. Spann

Solo — ‘Be Still, O Heart.’   Thomas R. Hampton

Class Will.   Maurie Dobbins

Valedictory.    Louise Colvert

Class Song – ‘Fealty’


Mary Louise Colvert, Maurie Catherine Dobbins, Lillian Gennetta Moore, Willie DeEtte Spann, Buster Brown Leach, Annie Bell Headen, Thomas Richard Hampton, Eloise Earnestine Bailey.  

Class Motto – We Learn Not for School, But for Life.

The colored people of Statesville take great pride in their school.  They have a modern school building, steam heated and supplied with the latest equipment, something which very few towns and cities of the State have provided for its colored population.  C.W. Foushee, the principal, has proven himself to be a good school man.  He is assisted by eight teachers.

— Statesville The Landmark, 7 June 1923.


Louise went up to New Jersey and finished high school.  They didn’t have a black high school in Statesville.  They just had tenth grade.  And she went to Jersey and finished high school in Jersey and then took a course in teacher’s education somewhere.  I don’t know whether it was Winston-Salem or Salisbury.  And then she taught at – Louise played an organ, I mean, she could play the piano. Yeah, she was just as smart as she could be.  And she not only could teach, but she was musical. And she had heard she could get a job anywhere because she could do that.  And I know Golar used to teach school, but Louise would do her commencement exercise for her.  She would, Louise would do that, and they would have concerts.  Not concerts, but the whole county would compete.  And Golar’s thing would always bring a group of children, ‘cause Louise would teach them, you know. I don’t know, I can’t remember the name of that place.  But she had a school out there.  Williams Grove. And Louise used to do all the playing for that school, and they would ask her to prepare them for the thing. They had these county somethings.  But it involved the whole county.  The schools were all over Iredell County.  And they would come together, and they would, it would be a big march, and then they would meet somewhere in particular, and then they would compete with the groups of singers and everything like that.  And, child, when Louise started that stuff, when she started teaching, she had groups singing – young people and the older people, and then Golar would take her to her school and get her to teach her children.

Happy birthday, Aunt Louise.
Mary Louise Colvert Renwick (6 October 1906-15 September 1989)

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved. Photographs in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson. 

Births Deaths Marriages, Education, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

John William Aldridge.

John Aldridge and his brothers George and Matthew Aldridge were hired to teach in Wayne County in the late 1870s. For reasons unknown, they were assigned to schools in the far north of the county, some 15 miles north of Dudley:

ALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School Records

ALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School Records 2 

From the same unsigned family history:

John Aldridge met Luvicie Artis at the school where he taught; she was one of his students. He built a 7 room house for her when they got married. John was a stout man with a reddish brown complexion and wavy black hair. He stopped teaching when he married Luvicie and started to farm and run a general store. The store was burned down in 1911. He sent his children to a private school. He died in 1910 of a congested chill. He was 58 years old when he died, and was worth about $30,000 at that time.


If John was worth $30,000 when he died, it was all in realty. His personal estate was paltry:
JW Aldridge Estate Doc