The working title for our project is “Ayden & Grifton; Coming Together in the Time of Integration.” Our group has looked up the history of the town of Ayden. We’re using that information about the histroy to create a digital timeline. For Grifton we have also researched the history of the town and school of Grifton so we’re creating a digital timeline on that informatin. We are then writing a short essay on how the school Ayden-Grifton came about. We have had two interviews already. One interview was an informal 10 minute conversation with Ivory who was the first black quaterback at Ayden High School, we weren’t able to record this interview because it was so short notice but we were able to get information from him to use in our timeline of Ayden. Our second interview was with Chuck Dunn who was a white teacher at Ayden. We were able to get a video recording of this 15 minute interview with Mr. Dunn which helped us clarify certain dates and information on integration in Ayden. We’ve found yearbooks from the schools which visually showed us integration in the schools overtime, we’ve found newspaper clippings which showed us forming of the schools and the addition to the buildings. The library of Ayden is where we acquired most of our information for our timeline of Ayden. We have specific dates and informaton in an orderly manner. After everything is completed our final product will consist of : a digital timeline of the town of Ayden and the town of Grifton, an essay of the merger of Ayden-Grifton High School and an interview video with Chuck Dunn. Our finish product for major project # 1 will show everyone the history of Ayden and Grifton during the time of integration and the merging of the two towns to form the school that still stands today; Ayden-Grifton High School.
Ayden Timeline: Power, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Historic Architecture of Pitt County, North Carolina.
Grifton Timeline: Hunsuckes, S. E., Moore, P. M., & Sparrow, E. H. (2005). Chronicles of Pitt County (Vol. 2). , NC: Pitt County Historical Society.
Ayden Timeline: Sugg, F. (1962, August). History of Ayden. Ayden News-Leader.
Essay: Peace Met by Schools of Grifton. (1966, February 28). The Daily Reflector.
Grifton Timeline: Grifton History. (n.d.). In The Town of Grifton North Carolina. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.grifton.com/community/grifton-history/
Essay: Opportunities offered by New School Lauded in Sunday Education. (1972, May 1). The Daily Reflector.
Annotated Bibliography Sources
- Power, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). The Historic Architecture of Pitt County, North Carolina.
The main idea of this source is to inform the readers on the architecture of towns in Pitt County. This book showed the town of Ayden and Grifton and the uprisings of buildings and stores. When evaluating this source I come to find that it is all facts and information on the history of these towns and all the information is accurate. This source was very useful because it helped with the timelines of Ayden and Grifton. This information helped me create a timeline of the history from the beginning to the time of integration. The intended audience for this source is anyone interested in the architecture and the uprisings of buildings in the towns of Pitt County. The author of this source is qualified to write on this topic, he has affiliations with Pitt County and the communities. The author doesn’t present a bias, because the books is all facts, it shows the uprisings of buildings and the town so there is no way he could present a bias. This source has plenty evidence. The book was very large and from the beginning to the end it offered plenty of facts that are reliable that I used for my timeline on both Ayden and Grifton.
- Hunsuckes, S. E., Moore, P. M., & Sparrow, E. H. (2005). Chronicles of Pitt County (Vol. 2). , NC: Pitt County Historical Society.
This source informs readers on the history of the towns in Pitt County. You can go through this book and look up any town in Pitt County and find the history of it. When evaluating this source I find it very helpful, especially since I was doing a timeline on the history of the towns and Grifton. This source is very useful because it was where I got most of my information for my timeline of the history of Grifton. The intended audience for this source is anyone interested in the history of towns in Pitt County. Anyone in the general public is able to look at this book to find out history of Pitt County towns. The author of this book is qualified and reliable because he’s writing for the Pitt County Historical Society which makes him very credible. Since this source is all facts it doesn’t show a bias. The source is strictly facts on the history of these towns. This source gives plenty evidence of the history on Grifton. This source helped me create my timeline for my online project.
- Sugg, F. (1962, August). History of Ayden. Ayden News-Leader.Pace Met by Schools of Grifton. (1966, February 28). The Daily Reflector.
This source was taken from the Ayden News- Leader, it’s a document from a newspaper that talks about the history of Ayden. When evaluating this source I find that it does have information that helped me with my timeline of Ayden but it didn’t have as much information as some of my other sources. This source was somewhat useful because I did find dates that were helpful for my Ayden timeline, but since the article wasn’t too long, it didn’t have as much information that could be put on my timeline as I would have hoped. The intended audience for this source is anyone interested in the history of Ayden. We found this source at the Ayden Library so it’s accessible to all. The author of this source is very credible and also doesn’t show a bias. This article is pure facts and not opinions therefore a bias doesn’t exist.
- Peace Met by Schools of Grifton. (1966, February 28). The Daily Reflector.
The author of this source is informing the citizens of Grifton of the development of Grifton School. This article talks the first steps in expanding the school, adding on new parts to the school, and the present site of the school. This source is useful because it gives me exact dates on the developing of the school building. The audience of this article is directed towards anyone that is interested in the developing of Grifton School. The author of this article does not show a bias, because they are just giving direct information about the building and development of the school. There is plenty evidence offered in this source because it gives direct dates to when certain parts of the the buildings were built and it talks about the progress of Grifton School.
- Grifton History. (n.d.). In The Town of Grifton North Carolina. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.grifton.com/community/grifton-history/
This source informs the readers on significant events that have happened in the town of Grifton. It actually gives a specific timeline on key events in Grifton from the beginning to 2006. When evaluating this source at first I was not sure if it’d be reliable because it is an internet source, but because it’s the town of Grifton’s actual website I found it to be reliable. This source was very useful because it gave dates and events, where in some of my other sources I had trouble finding dates relating to the events that it gave. The intended audience for this source is the general public, anyone interested in the town of Grifton. I couldn’t find the exact author of this source but it was published by Evans Press. There is no bias on this website because the history of Grifton gives specific dates and events, which are facts not opinions. There is enough evidence offered, the evidence is a timeline of dates and events from the beginning of Grifton to today.
- Opportunities offered by New School Lauded in Sunday Education. (1972, May 1). The Daily Reflector.
The author of this source is informing the readers of the new school Ayden-Grifton High School. It talks about the the size of the school, and the successful integration of blacks and whites into one school. This source is useful because it gives me the information I need on the new school. The intended audience of this source is anyone interested in the forming of Ayden-Grifton High School. Since this was a school that integrated many people were interested in this article. The author of this source does not create a bias because he’s just giving the facts. But in the article he states that the integration was successful, but yet he doesn’t state that it might have taken a while for the integration to be successful. This source gives plenty of evidence relating to the new Ayden-Grifton High School. The evidence is ethical and gives lots of facts.
Ayden and Grifton Coming Together in the Time of Integration
Ayden-Grifton High School has not always been one school, in fact Ayden-Grifton High Schools is made up of three schools from two different towns. There’s the town of Ayden and the town of Grifton, both located in North Carolina about 18 minutes away from each other. Before the time of integration the town of Ayden had to high schools; one for black kids and one for white kids. The schools for black students was called South Ayden High, and the school for white students was called Ayden High. As far as we know for the town of Grifton there was only one school which was for white students called Grifton High.
Before the merging of the three schools to form Ayden-Grifton High, there was somewhat of a merger of students attending school in the town of Ayden. The town of Ayden issued a Freedom of Choice. All parents in the town were given applications in which they would mark what school they would like to attend; either Ayden High or South Ayden High. If your parents didn’t turn in your application you were just assigned to the school that was closest to where you lived.
When doing our two interviews with a former black student who was one of the few blacks to attend Ayden and doing our other interview with a former white teacher who taught at Ayden we got two different sides to how the integration process went during the mergers of Ayden and South Ayden High. Ivory, the former black student told us many stories about how white students were mean and showed hatred toward him and the other black students who attended Ayden, and he told us that most of the teachers showed prejudice and treated the black students unfairly. When we interviewed Ivory he told us that the only teacher who was fair and didn’t show prejudice was Mr. Chuck Dunn, and that’s who we did our second interview with. When talking to Mr. Dunn he made it seem like there weren’t many problems with the black and white students together, which was a completely different story from what Ivory had said. The reason Mr. Dunn may have thought that is because he treated all students the same regardless of their color, and when asked in the interview why he did what he did in treating all students fairly Mr. Dunn stated that “Kids are kids, and I never thought of it any different.”
The Pitt County School system seemed to think the same thing, because in 1970 they issued the integration of all schools in the Pitt County District, which is when the merger of Ayden-Grifton came about. In 1971 Ayden-Grifton High School was opened, and all students from the town of Ayden and Grifton regardless of color were to attend this school. This school was located on a 30-84 acre site between the towns of Ayden and Grifton. The school was 121,859 square feet and could hold a capactiy of 1,056 people. The cost of this new school was $1,919,189 and the community helped with the paying for some of the school. T.G. Worthington who was the Chairman of Pitt County Board of Education said, “When the project was initiated it was a dream come true.” Stated in the Daily Reflector (May 1, 1972) “The aim of this project is to give every boy and girl in this county as good an opportunity for a good high school education as could be gotten anywhere.” The merger of Ayden and Grifton High Schools to form Ayden-Grifton High was a successful consolidation of black and white children truly integrated. After 40 years of true integration Ayden-Grifton High School is still up and running teaching the students of the future.
Peace Met by Schools of Grifton. (1966, February 28). The Daily Reflector.
Opportunities offered by New School Lauded in Sunday Education. (1972, May 1). The Daily Reflector.
J = Josh (Interviewer) & C= Chuck (Interviewee)
J: What school did you teach at ?
C: Now at what point in time are you talking about ?
J: Right around the time of integration.
C: Ayden High School.
J: Ayden High School ?
C: Yes, Ayden High School.
J: Now what did you teach there ?
C: I was a math teacher, I taught everything from Algebra 1 to Pre-Calculus, I taught there for 67 to 71 which was the last year for Ayden High School.
J: Back then what was the distribution as far as precentages of black to white students ?
C: When I started teaching there the schools were pretty much segregated, i’d say totally segregated actually. I started teachin in Virginia before I started teachin here, but anyways. Uhm there was a black high school in Ayden called South Ayden High School, which is no longer there, but there is a monument to it’s existence and it was about a quarter mile from Ayden High School. But Ayden High School at that time was pretty much along the diving line between the segregated communities. Now this is where i’m havin trouble with the years, but I would say probably 68 or 69 I can’t remember which, possibly 68 Pitt County instituted a policy of Freedom of Choice, which meant the students could apply to go to whichever school they wanted to, and if they didn’t submit an application they were assigned to the school nearest to where they lived. But even though the majority of black students lived on this part of town there was a section on the north side of town, and some families didn’t turn in their applications so that being closer to Ayden High School they were assigned to Ayden High School. I can tell you the first ones name, I can tell you what he looked like, he was a great kid in an awkward position.
C: But his name was Devro Blunt, I remember him very well cause I was the JV football coach at the time and he played football, great kid. I don’t remember any difficulty with anything at all. And the second one was a kid named Fletcher Hardis who was killed in tractor accident not terribly to long after he got out of school. Uh okay.
J: Alright uh.
C: I can ramble forever. I don’t wanna waste your time.
J: Oh no, it’s fine with us. During your time teaching what did you enjoy the most around the time of integration ?
C: Getting to know the kids. I taught for 37 years, and everything to me was about the kids. I had an administration degree so thats not where it was, I wanted to work with kids, and a lot of them that I taught back in those days still stop in to see me, which I think is a very positive thing.
J: Mhmm. Since you did teach around here in the right time period, what was your opinion on how integration was handled ?
C: Well, from that they went to pretty much i think this happened in 70, 70 71 school year maybe 69, 71 was the last year there was an Ayden High School which it then became Ayden Grifton, which they put a bomb in the bathroom but I wasn’t there at the time. Uhm, the last year there was an Ayden High School they consolidated South Ayden with Ayden High School until the integration of Ayden was complete at that time. Uhm, you know I don’t remember there being any real violence, the kids that came from South Ayden some of them had already known eachother. Cause I remember it must have been 70 cause the year before I remember Ayden High School had scheduled games against South Ayden and also the black school in Farmville, H.B. Suggs, and the only difficulty really to ever remember was Ayden High School scoring at the buzzard to beat H.B. Suggs at an undefeated season and they had a riot in the gym, but that was more between schools than anything else. Uhm, I don’t remember around here there was alot of violence, but of course there were people that were gonna exhibit some prejudice. But I don’t recall there being in major issues in terms of having uprisings.
J: Alright, last friday we talked to Mr. Ivory he was one of your former students, and he apparently things very highly of you because he told us that your were one of the most fair teachers around here, and we were wondering what did you do to be so fair to all of your students ?
C : You know I thought about that a lot particularly with Ivory cause me and him still maintain contact, as a matter a fact he was here the other day, he will just stop by just to chat. He has taken on a lot of leadership in trying to get things better, you know I really don’t know i’ve thought about it a great deal. And i just, kids are kids and i’ve never saw it any other way, and for a while i dont remember any consious decision, like okay these people are new here and their different and whatever i just dont remember ever having a thought, i think to myself i just dont know kids are kids. I was a scout leader at the time, and the scout troop was sponsered by the Ayden Motor Club, and Ivory and some of his buddies wanted to join the boy scouts and the club wouln’t let them and that kinda ticked me off a little, and that’s when i quit the scouts, but anyways.
J: Do you have any stories that you can share that deals with integration, that just sticks out in your mind ?
C: One of a time Ivory and one of his buddies, he might of told you this story idk, one of his buddies was sittin in the back of the classroom and they were tlaking when i was talkin, and thats kinda rude. So i told ivory and his buddy, and i might have this backwards but I told them to stop talking, and one of them made some comment, so I told him alright I want you to write a 500 word paper on sunshine, and the other one started laughing so I told him to write one on potato chips, and they still remember that. That was funny. I remember some stories. And there were some times where we had a kid here in the classroom and i’m sure you’ve never heard of him, but his name was Demetrius Higgons we called him Dee cause bless his heart he couldn’t spell Demetrius. He became a world kickboxing champion, we don’t see him much anymore as a matter of fact I haven’t seen him in years, but probably about 6 years ago I saw him down the street and he saw me and he came up and gave me a big hug and that was all good. I remember Dee he was one of those kids, like i said i coached football and tell him to be the quarterback he’d be the quarterback, Ivory was on the JV team and he wanted to play quarterback and and I would let him play 15 20 seconds, and that was just the greatest thing to him, he wasn’t very good. Just little things like that, I have things that’ll come back, but on demand it doesn’t work too well, but just little things like that . I remember one kid after a basketball game the basketball team and cheerleaders were coming back and one kid a black kid was harassing one of the cheerleaders and Dee took care of him, he might have erased his face, but just little things like that. Nothing really stands out in class besides the sunshine and potato chip incident.
J: Lets see, you mentioned the bombing earlier, do you know anything about that ?
C: Yah, actually i’ve been trying to go throughout the internet to figure out the actual years this happened, but I know it was either 69 or 70 but I cant remember. But I had left teaching after Ayden High School was closed, i was in NJ when i read the newspaper about Ayden Grifton High School being bombed. Which I remember was the first bombing of a school in American history. Now because there hadn’t been a lot of problems at the school doesn’t mean there hadn’t been difficulties in the community. Now I don’t remember all of the details it had somethin to do with a black person, according to what i read on Wikapedia which we know how gospel truth that is, this person died in Ayden jail, which I remember it different, but bottom line is someone died. And some of the different groups, and some of the other groups and outside groups, which like I said I wasn’t here I was in NJ, but my parents lived right there, and they came together and they were marching and stuff, and needless to say a bomb went off in the bathroom of the school, and from what I’ve been told they had an assembly that day, and the bathroom is adjacent to the auditorium which the auditorium wasn’t big enough to hold the whole student body so they held it somewhere else. But they did have a few students in the study hall, but no one got hurt, and they caught the people who did it, and they weren’t from here, and thats what I remember from the bombing, like I said I wasn’t here but I heard about it later.
J: Well looking back now, from the time you were teaching would you go back and change anything ?
C: I hope not.
J: You hope not ?
C: I hope not. From what i said before, for whatever reason it went pretty well as far as me and my relationship with the kids. I’ve always been thankful for that for whatever reason maybe my parents did something right I don’t know. It could be that when I was growing up I was around black kids, I had a grandbrother that lived on this side of town and and i lived over there and us kids would walk up and down the street. My grandparents had a lady from down there Daisy Garder just as fine as a woman ever lived and she was their house keeper and she loved me to death, all of us kids, and we all loved her. And maybe in a sense it just wasn’t all that strange, I dont know. Whatever it is I’m thankful.
J: Well do you know of anything else that you’ve been through or seen that would be useful as far as us putting a presentation together ?
C: Let me see, well, when I left I didn’t stay out of teaching but for 1 year, but i wasn’t going to Ayden Grifton for whatever reason. But I spent 30 D.H. Conley, at that it was only 4 months old. Large school, and even out in Conley I don’t remember anything, if there was a fight between a black and a white guy it’s just two people having a disagreement not necessarily because he’s white or black. A lot of black students were student body president and stuff. So i’ve been fortunate that i don’t really have a lot of stories about this in general and violence and that kind of stuff.
J: Well that’s about all the questions I have.