African American News and Genealogy

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Remembering a Painful Yet Precious Time

Alumni Gather For First Reunion Of Black School By Rosalind S. HeldermanWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, May 15, 2005; Page LZ01 The textbooks read by the children of Banneker Elementary School were castoffs, discarded by white children at other Loudoun County schools. The school had no library -- there was no need because the county provided too few books to fill one. The daily planners issued to teachers had a place on the cover, next to the line where they wrote their names, where they were to note whether they were teaching at a "Negro" or "white" school. But those aren't the things the children who attended Banneker before it was integrated in 1968 remember most about the school. Instead, they remember the family atmosphere and how teachers knew every child and kept them all in line. They remember the May Day celebration each spring, so popular with the community that people would crowd the surrounding fields to watch the children perform dances they had been practicing for months. To reminisce about those kinds of memories, and to make sure the others are not forgotten, students, staff members and parents who were connected with Banneker between the school's opening in 1948 and its integration in 1968 were to hold their first reunion last night. "If you don't know where you were, you don't know where you're going," said Janet Hagan, 55, of Middleburg, who attended the school from 1959 to 1963. The idea of a reunion has been bouncing around for years, but it took the help of a beloved community member and a dedicated teacher -- along with some friends on the Equity Team, which works for cultural diversity at the school -- to make the event happen. Full Story:


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