Orange County Training School,
Northside, and Lincoln High School Reunion

CHAPEL HILL, NC-- June 30, 2001
This weekend was very important to lots of African-Americans who grew up here in the Carrboro and Chapel Hill area. It was a reunion of alumni from the Orange County Training School, Northside Elementray School, and Lincoln High School. Shown here are Esther McCauley, President of the Alumni Association, with Delores Geer, checking in Janie Jones. Nearly 400 people were estimated to converge at the Chapel Hill Sheraton for the banquet Saturday night. The oldest alumni expected to participate in the festivities was Ms. Luella Merritt, who is over 90 years old.

If you were an African-American youth in Carrboro and Chapel Hill in the 1900s, there weren't very many educational options. Up until 1917, private schools were the only choice. Then the Orange County Training School, which became known as Northside in 1951, was built.

Mary Norwood Jones and her sister Martha Barbee "The African-American children had to walk to school at Northside, no matter how far away they lived. It was a long way for many children. It was extremely hard for them," explains Carrboro native Mary Norwood Jones, shown here on the right with her sister Martha Barbee. "I lived in Carrboro, across from where Riggsbee-Hinson Furniture Store is now. Back then the Orange County Training School was known as "Windy Hill" because the school sat up on a hill. There was no road leading up to it, just a trail wide enough to walk through."

Ms. Norwood left the area for awhile, but has relocated here and is working hard as an advocate for early childhood education. "It costs over $100,000 a year to house a prisoner. If we educate individuals when they are young, they are less likely to end up in the prison system. We pay now, or we pay much more later."

Manning the T-shirt table were local residents Ruby Davis and Faye Atwater Farrar. Ms. Farrar was a staff reporter for the Lincoln Echo, the school paper, back in the 1950s. Lincoln High was completed in 1951, serving 7th. - 12th. grades in what was then part of the Orange County school system. Carrboro and Chapel Hill eventually formed their own school system.

While some folks have moved out of the area, the majority of the members of this alumni group are still around here, in the North Carolina area.

Below left, Eugene Hines stands in front of one of the permanent display cases that houses photos of Lincoln High Alumni from the 50s and 60s. There are also displays of local achievers posted along the hallway entering Lincoln Center, that alumni can be seen taking a look at.

We will be investigating the history some African-Americans who were born and raised here in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, so be sure to check back, as we discover and relate what is was like around here in the 50's and 60's, a turbulent time throughout the South.

Update: The website is now online.

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