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.