Tom Crosby Oral History Collection

Rosenwald Colored School, School District No. 6, Clarendon County. Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

The Tom Crosby Oral History Collection, consisting of forty-four oral history interviews, explores African-American education in South Carolina during segregation. Interviews primarily focus on Rosenwald schools, Allen University, and sports at Sims High School in Union County, South Carolina. Forty-one of the forty-four interviewees are African-American and describe their educational experiences and the features of their individual schools. Of note is Dorothy Evans who, interviewed at age 104, was a 1924 graduate of Allen University.

Dr. Tom Crosby, creator of the Rosenwald schools oral history project, conducted interviews with more than three dozen South Carolinians after his retirement as Chair of the Biology department at Allen University

Interviews were conducted by Tom Crosby, with the exception of the two in which he is the interviewee, between 2006 and 2011. Summaries, which precede complete transcripts of each oral history interview, are accessible below.

The Interviews


Kenneth Alston
Dr. Kenneth Alston, an educator and research chemist, was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1951, and has four siblings. In this oral history interview, Alston discusses his educational experiences at West End Elementary and Emmett Scott High School (York County, South Carolina), Friendship Junior College (Rock Hill, South Carolina), St. Augustine’s College (Raleigh, North Carolina), and Howard University, from which he earned his doctorate in chemistry. Alston describes his time spent with the National Institute of Health where he worked under two Nobel Prize winning chemists, Christian B. Anfinsen and Max Ferdinand Perutz, and his teaching career at Allen University, Benedict College, and the University of South Carolina.
John Bates
John Harold Bates was born on December 13, 1938, in Union, South Carolina; he was one of fourteen children born to Lula Mae and Caldwell Bates. In this oral history interview John H. Bates discusses his educational experiences at McBeth Elementary and Sims High School (Union, South Carolina), the football team and Coach Moorer, his career as a basketball coach at Maryland Eastern Shore and Coppin State University, and a few of his players that were drafted into the National Basketball Association.
Telicious Boyd
Telicious Kenly Lowman Boyd was born on September 7, 1919, to Minnie and James Lowman of Columbia, South Carolina. One of three children, she was an educator. She died on October 21, 2009. In this oral history interview Telicious Kenly (Lowman) Boyd discusses the prominent role of education in her life, including a detailed description of Pine Grove Elementary School (Richland County, South Carolina), games played, school lunches, and the Piney Grove A.M.E. Church, which donated the land upon which the elementary school was built. She also discusses her time at Harbison Junior College and Allen University, where she graduated with a degree in home economics.

She became the first African-American teacher hired by the Girls Industrial School (now known as the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice) and later taught at Richland High School (Irmo, South Carolina) and worked for the family court system.

Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown was born on May 24, 1933, in Pendleton, South Carolina. A state representative, Brown has been the longest-serving African American legislator in the state since Reconstruction. In this oral history interview, Brown discusses his educational experiences in Anderson County, South Carolina. Brown attended Oak Grove Elementary, Anderson County Training School, and Allen University, where he majored in elementary and physical education. Brown taught elementary school at Reeder Point School before becoming principal at Hopkins Elementary (Richland County, South Carolina) and I.E. Johnson High School (Laurinburg, North Carolina).
Agnes Burgess
Agnes Burgess photo Agnes Hildebrand Wilson Burgess, an educator, was born in 1914 in Chapin, South Carolina, to Rev. Benjamin Franklin Hildebrand Sr. and Agnes Brogdon. Twice widowed, Dr. Burgess passed away October 6, 2012. In this oral history interview Agnes Hildebrand Wilson Burgess discusses her educational experiences at Claflin and Elloree elementary schools through her graduate work at Temple University and The Sorbonne, her outstanding achievements as an educator, and her travels to France and Kenya. Dr. Burgess was the first African-American teacher to receive the South Carolina Teacher of the Year Award.
William Cannon
William Cannon photograph William Cannon was born on January 12, 1928. In this oral history interview William Cannon discusses his educational experiences at Saxon Elementary School, Booker T. Washington High School, Allen University and South Carolina State College (modern day South Carolina State University) in Orangeburg, South Carolina; his time in the United States Army; and his 30-year teaching career at Vorhees College, Booker T. Washington High School, A.C. Flora High School, as well as his time serving an Assistant Principal at Columbia High School.
Durham Carter
Howard Colored School Durham Immanuel Carter was born in 1928 to Laurence and Lillie Carter in Richland County, South Carolina. In this oral history interview, Carter discusses his educational experiences, which include attending Booker T. Washington School in Columbia, South Carolina, for all but third through sixth grades (when he attended Howard Elementary School.) His oral history interview also covers his teachers, types of classes, and extracurricular activities that were available. Carter also mentions notable graduates of the school; experiences at Allen University; and his Master’s degree work at Indiana University.

During his oral history interview, Carter also speaks about his career as a high school teacher and counselor in Aiken, South Carolina; participation in the integration of schools; civic work in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community of Columbia, South Carolina, where he founded the Waverly Valley Farm Neighborhood Association.

Tom Crosby
Tom Crosby

Crosby Interview 1

Crosby Interview 2

Dr. Tom Crosby was born on May 10, 1940 in Blair, Fairfield County, South Carolina and grew up in Santuck, one of twelve children. His father was Sam Crosby, a farmer and textile worker, and his mother was Sally (Feaster) Crosby. He attended Rosenwald schools in Union County, South Carolina, at McBeth Elementary and Sims High School. After high school, he graduated Allen University and later earned his master’s degree from Indiana University and doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

In his oral history interviews he discusses his educational experiences at Rosenwald schools, physical features of the buildings, growing up in the Santuck community, his father’s vocations as a farmer and textile worker, teachers who influenced him at McBeth Elementary, Sims High School and sports, some of the social conditions he encountered while pursuing graduate degrees and during his time teaching at Morgan State University, Jeanes teachers, Voorhees College, and his tenure as Chair of the Biology Department at Allen University.

Mary Dillard
Mary Dillard Mary Ellen Gregory Dillard was born on January 14, 1938, in Union, South Carolina, one of 14 children born to Arrie Belle Gilliam and Benjamin Gregory. She became a high school teacher at various schools in upstate South Carolina before retiring in 1992. In this oral history interview, Dillard discusses her educational experiences in Union, South Carolina at Maple Ridge Elementary, St. Jacobs Lodge, McBeth Elementary and Sims High School. She also discusses her time attending Friendship Junior College and Benedict College, her teaching experiences at various schools in Georgia and South Carolina including Bryson High, Sims High and Union High Schools.

Dillard also speaks about her retirement in 1992 and her work as an author publishing in the field of children’s literature: “The Bushy Tailed Cousins,” and “Jeepers Creepers, the Squirrels are Coming.”

Kathleen (Jeter) Eison

Kathleen Eison

(photos courtesy of
Kathleen’s granddaughter
Elizabeth Thomas)

Kathleen (Jeter) Eison was born on October 25, 1908 in Santuck, Union County, South Carolina. She was one of fourteen children born to Andy and Lindy Jeter. In 1924, she completed her high school education at Clarendon County Training School in Manning, South Carolina (see diploma).Kathleen Eison's Diploma

She received her B.S. degree from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina, and taught for 37 years in Union County before her retirement.

We do not have an oral history interview with Kathleen, but as a teacher Kathleen is mentioned in these several interviews within the exhibit: Lugene Gist, Emma Jennings, Mattie Savage, John R. Stevenson and Frederick C. James.

Dorothy Evans
Dorothy Evans

Evans Interview 1

Evans Interview 2

Dorothy Mae Lomax Dorrah-Evans was born in Washington, D.C., on January 30, 1906, one of three children born to Adele Chapell. On her 100th birthday her home church celebrated by declaring Sunday, February 5, 2006, as Dorothy Evans Day, and bestowed upon her the honorary title of Church Mother. She died at the age of 106 on March 16, 2012.In this oral history interview, Evans recalls her educational experiences growing up in Washington, D.C., and South Carolina. In Washington, D.C., Evans attended Amidon-Bowen Elementary and Samuel Chapman Armstrong Technical High School prior to moving to South Carolina to attend Allen University, majoring in elementary education.

Evans elaborates on her time spent at Allen including her job in the cafeteria, living at Coppin Hall, walking to Sunday service at Bethel A.M.E., and being sent home for refusing to clean the President’s office. Evans also discusses her twenty year career as a teacher in Jackson High School (Camden, S.C.), Barksdale-Harnie School (Laurens County, S.C.) and Bell Street High School (Clinton, S.C.). Having left teaching in 1941 to return to Washington, D.C., to work for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Evans comments on the segregation, discrimination, and violence she witnessed in the workplace while under employment at the Bureau of engraving. She closes the interview reminiscing about some of her long lost friends and the buildings that remain on Allen University’s campus.

Rosana Felder
Rosana Felder Rosana Byrd Felder was born April 4, 1909 in Whitmire, Newberry County, South Carolina, one of five children born to Carlie Sims and Dean Barry “DB” Byrd. She died on February 23, 2012. In this oral history interview Rosana Felder discusses her educational experiences at Booker T. Washington High School (class of 1922) and Allen University (class of 1949), her teaching experiences at Swanson Elementary (Greenville County) and her time spent singing for the Allen University and Bethel A.M.E. Choruses.
James E. Floyd
James Floyd


James E. Floyd, was born in Laurens, South Carolina in 1935, one of ten children. He received his bachelor’s degree from Allen University in 1957 and master’s degree from Tuskegee University in 1965. Throughout his career, Floyd has worked as a businessman, coach, engineer, and public school teacher. Floyd is also the owner, president, and chief executive officer of F&M Development, Inc., James T. Floyd Construction, and Unlimited General Construction. In his oral history interview, Floyd discusses his educational experiences and various coaches and players from South Carolina who had notable careers in collegiate and professional track and field, and football.

Floyd’s oral history interview also covers his attendance of Fleming Cain Elementary and Thomas Sanders High School in Laurens, SC; his graduation in 1953; and attendance of Allen University (Columbia, South Carolina) with a degree in biology. He also discusses his coaching career at Thomas Sanders High school as an assistant coach. This oral history interview also covers his military service and his return to Thomas Sanders High in 1960 as Head Coach and Athletic Director.

Allan From
Allan From Allan From was born on January 9, 1950, one of two children born to Edith and Harry From of Union, South Carolina. From currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. In this oral history interview Allan From discusses his educational experiences, the influence of Professor Sims on Sims High School and the broader community of Union County, S.C., his Jewish heritage, the origin of his family name, his grandfather’s store, I. From’s, and its role in the African-American community.
Dill Gamble
Dill Gamble Dill Gamble was born in 1934 in Sardinia, South Carolina, located in Clarendon County. In this oral history interview, Gamble discusses his own education and that of African Americans in South Carolina from the 1920s through the 1970s. Gamble also discusses his attendance of Melina, a Rosenwald school located in Clarendon County, South Carolina, and Drayton Street High School in Newberry County, South Carolina. The evolution of these schools, an explanation of when and where they were built and what they are called now or what stands in their place are also covered by Gamble.

This interview also covers Jeanes teachers and Rosenwald schools in general and the educational opportunities they provided African Americans. He also discusses chores, activities and spelling bees at Melina School, and the merits of multi grade level classrooms. Finally, Gamble speaks about the differences between black and white educational experiences, such as teacher salary discrepancies, the length of school terms, transportation, and the differences in facilities and teachers available between the Clarendon and Newberry Counties.

Timard Gates
Rosenwald School Timard Fisher Gates was born on July 28th, 1950 in Lexington, South Carolina. One of six children, he attended Lexington Rosenwald School. In this oral history, Gates discusses his family and many of the teachers he had throughout his education at Lexington Rosenwald. Many of these teachers were his relatives.

A gifted athlete, he played basketball and football in high school and helped his teams win a number of state championships. He went on to play football at Allen University but his athletic career there was derailed early by a series of health issues and ultimately the discontinuation of the Allen football program. This allowed for his full focus to be on academics. He graduated early and was offered the opportunity to work at any one of seven area high schools. Gates chose Booker T. Washington High School because his mother had attended that school.

While working at Booker T. Washington, he became involved in athletics.  He spent time as a coach there and later at C.A. Johnson High School. He earned a Master of Education degree from South Carolina State University and eventually he went on to become the head basketball coach at Allen University.

Roosevelt Gilliam
Sims High School Roosevelt Gilliam was born September 9, 1932 in Union, South Carolina. He received an official commendation from the South Carolina General Assembly during its 112th session (1997-1998) for his illustrious career in the field of athletics, his academic accomplishments, his contributions to the private sector, and his service to the State of South Carolina.” In this oral history interview, Gilliam discusses his educational experiences in South Carolina in the 1940s, his teachers and coaches both in general. In particular, Gilliam discusses Sims High School, Professor Sims, Coach Moorer, and activities such as fraternal clubs and the athletic program.

Gilliam also mentions anecdotes about playing football, attending Allen University, serving in the Army. Gilliam’s oral history interview also covers his coaching career in football, particularly at Sims High School, noteworthy games, his career as a college administrator, and the importance of education.

Lugene Gist
Lugene Gist Lugene Gist was born May 4, 1915 in Carlisle, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Lugene Gist discusses her educational experiences attending Greenbriar School and night school at Poplar Grove School (both in Union County), her father and other local men’s physical efforts to build schools in the area, walking to school and May Day games played with her classmates, and recalling the names of some other local schools in Union County including Puppy Town (Tinker Creek), Oak Grove, and Red Point.
Ralph Greer
Rose Colored Ralph Greer is an only child, born December 9, 1928 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Greer was commended for his work in journalism by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2013. In this oral history interview Ralph Greer discusses his educational experiences at Central Elementary, Main Street Grammar and Union High School, what life was like living in Union Mill Village which was located close to black neighborhoods, working at Excelsior Mills while attending Wofford College, his time spent recording Sims High Football games for the local radio station, and his 35 years of work and retirement from Union Daily Times/ Spartanburg Herald.
George Harkness
Due West Elementary School George Harkness was born on January 28, 1930 to Sallie and Curtis Harkness in Due West, Abbeville County, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Mr. Harkness discusses his educational experiences at Due West Elementary and Carver High School, his secondary education at Allen University, career influences in educational administration, and his time serving on the Allen University Board of Trustees which, in 2013, amounted to 24 years.
John Haynesworth
Lincoln High Colored John Haynesworth was born in 1951 in Sumter County, South Carolina. In this oral history interview John Haynesworth discusses his educational experiences growing up in Sumter County including his attendance at Savage-Glover Elementary, Bates Junior High, and Lincoln High School, South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University) and his subsequent coaching and administrative duties at Allen University, Spring Valley High School, Richland Northeast High School, Withers Elementary School (all located in Richland County) and Mount Pleasant High School (Charleston County).
Roy Henderson
Rosenwald School Roy Henderson was born on January 2, 1926 in Washington, Pennsylvania. He is one of five children born to Ethel Henderson. In this oral history interview Henderson discusses his educational experiences in Pennsylvania, joining the U.S. Navy, attending South Carolina State on a football scholarship, coaching at Lamar High School (Darlington County, South Carolina), St. Stephens Colored High School (Berkeley County, South Carolina), and Carver High School (Spartanburg County, South Carolina).
Jean Hopkins
Jean Hopkins Jean Sanders Hopkins was born 1931 in Pin Cushion, Richland County, South Carolina; child of Lucy Taylor Sanders and Henry Mack Sanders, reared by her maternal great grandmother, Charlotte Taylor, and her maternal grandfather, Robert “Sudie” Taylor. She was featured in the 1999 South Carolina African American History Calendar. In this oral history interview Jean Sanders Hopkins discusses her educational experiences at Mill Creek A.M.E. Church and Waverly School in Columbia, South Carolina, addresses internal racism among African-American teachers and students, her ground-breaking hire as one of the first African-American nurses at Dorn Veterans Hospital (Columbia, South Carolina) and her position as a member of the Board of Trustees at Palmetto Richland Hospital.
Frederick C. James
Frederick C. James Bishop Frederick Calhoun James was the only child of Rosa Lee Gray and Edward James, born in 1922 in Prosperity, South Carolina; earned his bachelor’s degree in history and English from Allen University in 1943 and his master’s of divinity degree from the Howard University School of Religion in 1947. James was featured in the 2000 African American History Calendar. In this oral history interview Frederick C. James his educational experiences, Rosenwald schools in Prosperity, South Carolina and Allen University, his career as a bishop in Africa and his friendship with former United States President William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, the importance and influence of his early education, his service as chairman of the Howard Junior High Restoration Center Initiative.
Willie Jefferson
Willie Jefferson Willie M. Jefferson was born in 1927. In this oral history interview Willie M. Jefferson discusses his educational experiences at Mayesville Institute in Mayesville, South Carolina, the school’s 160 acre farm, classes in blacksmithing, masonry, carpentry, graduating in 1946, attending Allen University, teaching at Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia, becoming principal at Dennis High and Mt. Pleasant High (both in Lee County), and later becoming an Assistant Superintendent.
Willie Jeffries
McBeth Grammar Willie Edison Jeffries was born in 1937. In 1979, Jeffries became the first African-American head coach of a NCAA Division I football program (Wichita State). He was featured in the 2005 South Carolina African American History Calendar, and Jeffries was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. In this oral history interview Willie E. Jeffries discusses his educational experiences at McBeth Elementary and Sims High School (Union County, South Carolina) playing sports, the influence of his teachers, principals, and coaches, Rosenwald Day celebrations including a song, Indiana University, South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University) Granard School (Gaffney, Cherokee County, SC), his career coaching football at North Carolina A&T University, University of Pittsburgh, South Carolina State, Wichita State University, and Howard University, becoming the first African-American head coach of a NCAA Division I football program (Wichita State) in 1979.
Emma Jennings
Beatty Bridge Emma Jennings was born in 1925 in Union, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Emma Jennings discusses her educational experiences in the 1930s at four elementary schools: McBeth Grammar, Carem Elementary, Poplar Grove and Beaty Bridge, describes the size of the school buildings and classes, school activities, games played at recess, community involvement, length of the school year, and the difficulties that parents, students, and faculty faced including paying for an additional (fourth) month of school, having one teacher for multiple grades, walking miles to school in the mud and cold, and students’ responsibility for cleaning the schools, the teacher who took classes on field trips to learn South Carolina history, the history of the Poplar Grove School building and current attempts at preservation of Rosenwald schools. Mrs. Jennings’ brother is also present at the interview and adds comments.
Howard Jeter
Howard Jeter Howard F. Jeter was born on March 6, 1947, one of three children born to Emma Mattocks and James Walter Jeter, Jr. of Santuck, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Howard F. Jeter discusses his upbringing and educational experiences at Poplar Grove and McBeth Elementary,1964 valedictorian of Sims High School, Morehouse College years, majoring in Political Science, with minors in Economics and French, the Merrill Study Travel Program/ Institute of European Studies, graduate work at Johns Hopkins University, and various assigned diplomatic positions to Africa, including stints as the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana (1983- 1986) and Nigeria (2000-2003).
Rosa Jeter
Rosa Jeter Rosa Savage Jeter was born in 1940, one of 11 children. In this oral history interview Rosa S. Jeter discusses her educational experiences at Tinker Creek Elementary, McBeth Elementary, and Sims High School in Union County, school lunch, school closing for spring planting, walking several miles to school, study habits, Frank Jeter and his work for the federal government creating an opportunity for the family to live abroad for several years in Mexico, the Philippines, and Crete.
Ernest Jones
Ernest Jones Ernest Jones was born on October 8, 1934 in Greenville, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Ernest Jones discusses his educational experiences growing up in Greenville County, South Carolina, attending Brutown Intermediate and Sterling High School, playing football as well as Negro League baseball for the Greenville Black Spinners, attending Allen University on a full football scholarship and majoring in physical education with minors in science and history, his move to New York City and his employment as a school security officer.
Modest Keenan
Modest Keenan Modest Keenan was born on November 6, 1935 in Union County, South Carolina. Keenan worked as a mail carrier in Union for 21 years and at the time of this interview Keenan owned and operated his father’s barber shop. In this oral history interview, Keenan discusses his educational experience growing up in Union County, South Carolina, including his attendance at McBeth Elementary and Sims High School. He briefly discusses time spent in the U.S. Navy before he used his G.I. Bill to obtain a license in cosmetology and an associate’s degree in accounting.
Willie Mae Jeter Kelly
Sims High School Willie Mae Jeter Kelly was born in 1925 in Santuck South Carolina, one of ten children born to Mary Peake and Clayton Jeter. In this interview, Kelly discusses her education growing up in Union County, South Carolina. She recalls the one-room school she attended, Tinker Creek Elementary, its physical layout, and her time at Sims High School, remembering especially the teachers and coaches at the schools. She reflects on the experience of combined-grade classes and activities such as recess games, cake walks, spelling bees, and exchanging letters with students at nearby Poplar Grove School.

She also discusses challenges she faced such as walking to school regardless of weather. In her discussion of high school she remembers her favorite subjects and activities including clubs and sports, especially basketball. More broadly, she addresses the importance and role of education, including her own decision not to attend college and the decisions of her sister, who became a teacher, and her husband, also present during the interview, who enlisted in the [U.S.] Army.

Julia Long
Finley Grammar Dr. Julia Spann Long was born on November 2, 1918 in Chester, South Carolina. One of nine children, she married Dr. Lawrence W. Long, a pioneer in medical services for African Americans in Union County, in 1953. Mother of two children and life-long resident of Union County, she died in 2011. In this oral history interview Julia Spann Long discusses her educational experiences including attending Finley Elementary and High School (Chester County, South Carolina), Benedict College, majoring in English and Math, and her Master’s studies at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), teaching career at H.H. Butler High School, Johnson C. Smith University, and University of South Carolina Union, her husband Dr. Lawrence W. Long and his pioneering efforts to establish medical care for African Americans in and around Union County, including the establishment of a hospital.
Mildred McDuffie
Mildred McDuffy Mildred Weathers McDuffie was born on August 3, 1934 in Wedgefield, Sumter County, South Carolina to Ethel Mae Byrd and Charlie James Weathers. She worked for Richland County School District One for over 30 years. McDuffie was commended by the South Carolina General Assembly in their 118th session (2009-2010) for “her outstanding service to humanity, her community, and her church.” In this oral history interview Mildred Weathers McDuffie discusses her educational experiences in Columbia, South Carolina at Celia Saxon Elementary and Booker T. Washington High School, Allen University (class of 1957) and the Business department, Benedict College, working at the Columbia Housing Authority and pay disparity, time spent in Georgia, teaching in Richland County School District One in Columbia, South Carolina for thirty-four years, serving as a summary court judge, and volunteer work as a Relationship Specialist at Allen University.
Novella Mills
Pine Grove Novella Mills was born on November 3, 1924, one of eight children born to Hester Aiken Mills and Tony Bates Mills of Irmo, South Carolina. In this oral history interview Novella Mills discusses her educational experiences at Pine Grove Elementary, general description and games played, going to Harbison Junior College from 6th grade until the school burned down in tenth grade, attending Booker T. Washington High for one year, attending Allen University, descriptions of many teachers, and her mother’s teaching career.
Kay Patterson
Kay Patterson The Honorable Kay Patterson was born 1931 in Round Oak, South Carolina, to Leila Prince and James Patterson. Further information on Senator Patterson may be found here. In this interview Kay Patterson discusses his educational experiences in South Carolina, descriptions of segregated schools, walking to school, the sports program at his high school and wearing uniforms passed down from white schools, teachers and their teaching styles, his favorite teacher in high school, the beginning of his journey to becoming a state senator, attending Claflin University, servicing in the Marines, finishing school and becoming politically involved at Allen University, some of the people he met, and participating in the movement that removed the Confederate flag from the Columbia, South Carolina Statehouse.
Berry Peake
Poplar Grove Berry Peake was born on October 10, 1925 to Johnnie and Johnny Peake. In this oral history interview Berry Peake discusses his educational experience growing up in Union, South Carolina, including his attendance at Tinker Creek Elementary, Poplar Grove Elementary and Greenbrier Elementary Schools.
Mattie (Sims) Savage
Mattie Savage Mattie Savage was born to Margie and Marty Sims in 1922. In this oral history interview Mattie Savage discusses her educational experiences in Union, South Carolina, attending Beatty Bridge Elementary School, a Rosenwald School, walking four miles to school, recess games, raising money to fund an additional month of the teacher’s salary, and a school field trip to Columbia, South Carolina and touring Allen University.
Jimmie Sims
Beatty Bridge Jimmie Sims was born in 1922 to Ellen Lyles and Willie Arthur Sims. In this oral history interview Jimmie Sims discusses his educational experiences in Union, South Carolina at McBeth, Carem, Poplar Grove, Beatty Bridge and Sims High School, being drafted into the United States Army, attending the Tuskegee Institute graduating with a degree in nutritional dietetics, field trips to Charleston, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina, social clubs, organizations and sports activities at Sims High School.
John R. Stevenson
John Stevenson John R. Stevenson was born in 1931. In the 1980s, he became the first Black superintendent of a school district in Richland County, South Carolina. Stevenson was featured in the 1991 South Carolina African American History Calendar. In this interview John Stevenson discusses his educational experiences as a student, teacher, and administrator in South Carolina, moving often in his childhood and attended a number of different schools as his father was an A.M.E. minister, teacher influences, the classes they taught, and their Northern education, attending Allen University and decision to become an elementary teacher, serving in the Korean War, receiving his Master’s degree from Boston University, teaching career, integration, teacher and curriculum development decisions, being the first black Superintendent of a Richland County, South Carolina school district in the 1980s and 1990s.
Harold Thompson
Harold Thompson Harold Eugene Thompson was born April 2, 1951 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Helen (Stinson) and Dudley Thompson, Jr. In the oral history interview Harold Eugene Thompson discusses his educational experiences in the Lukesville community of Union, South Carolina at New Primary elementary school and Sims High School, playing football and basketball in high school, moving to Washington, D.C., pursuing a degree in broadcast engineering from Temple Technical Institute, facing racism and prejudice in his career at WSPA – Channel 7- Spartanburg, South Carolina, serving on the Union City Council and as Mayor pro tem briefly.
Ted Trantham
Ted Trantham Ted Trantham was born October 12, 1935, in Union, South Carolina. At the time of this oral history interview, Mr. Trantham owned and operated an antique store in Union. In this oral history interview Ted Trantham discusses educational experiences at Central and Monarch Elementary schools and Union High School, attending football and basketball games, as a white man, at the community’s segregated African-American Sims High School in Union County, South Carolina.
Carl Williams
Chalk Hill Carl Van Williams was born in Dixiana, Lexington County, South Carolina on April 27, 1939, one of five children born to Sarah Ann and John Howard Williams. In this oral history interview Carl Williams discusses his educational experiences at Chalk Hill Elementary, Lakeview High School, and Allen University, graduating Allen University with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry, his career as a school teacher and basketball coach at several Columbia, South Carolina schools: Booker T. Washington High School, A.C. Flora High School, Richland Northeast High School, and Lower Richland High School, including three he led to State Championships, and some of his players who were recruited to play professional basketball in the National Basketball Association.
Matthew Zimmerman
Sims High School Born in Rock Hill, South Carolina on December 9, 1941, Matthew Zimmerman attended Sims High School. After graduating from Sims, he attended Benedict College where he studied pre-med. He became the first African American graduate student at Duke’s Theological Seminary. He was the first African American as Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army. He followed this by getting a second master’s degree from the University of Long Island.

In this oral history, Zimmerman discusses his early education, life with having both parents as public-school educators, and some of his former teachers and mentors. He discusses the school calendar being dictated by the crop harvesting schedule so students could be available to work in the fields.

Also discussed is his promotion to General in the Army and working directly under General Colin Powell while serving in Atlanta, GA.