First black students recall first days of integration


In this photo from 1957, from left, Alphonzo, Margaret, Roland, and at bottom, Barbara Scott are shown. They were among the first black children to attend Havelock Elementary School.

Submitted photo
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM.

It was the first day of school for Alphonso, Roland and Margaret Scott.

Their mother, Pearl Scott, led the children from a nearby base housing complex on a short walk to Havelock Elementary School, where on a typical first day they would meet new classmates and new teachers and find their desks in new classrooms.

But this was no typical first day. The men in military uniforms with rifles lining the walkway into the school showed the children that this was different.

On Aug. 28, 1959, the three Scott children were among the first 11 black students to attend the previously all-white Havelock Elementary and Barden Elementary schools in Havelock. The schools were the first in the state east of Goldsboro to open their doors to both white and black students.

Roland Scott, now 62 and a resident of Louisville, Ky., said he has vivid memories of that first day as a second-grader.

“The memories run kind of deep and it’s something that’s kind of hard to get away from,” he said. “I didn’t know why all of the soldiers were there. They were lined up on the sidewalk on both sides and we went between them. There were a few people shouting some things. At the time, I didn’t understand why they were shouting. None of them was allowed to come inside the line where we were walking. We were escorted up the steps and reporters were in front of us, behind us, taking pictures as we went into the building. It wasn’t too bad.”

Older sister Margaret Scott Rivers, then a third-grader and now a resident of Monks Corner, S.C., remembers being on the front page of the paper and on television.

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