Each year, History Cherokee celebrates Black History Month by bringing to light significant people and places of the African American community over the decades. Here are some snapshots from its #BlackHistoryMonth Facebook posts through the years. Special thanks to History Cherokee for providing historical information.
For more details and posts like these, follow @CherokeeCountyHistoryCenter on Facebook, or visit www.historycherokee.org.
Cynthia Durham and Priscilla Strickland
In 1956, Cynthia Durham and Priscilla Strickland were the first African American students to integrate Cherokee High School. These young women wanted to broaden their educational experience, and after much discussion with their family and the principal of the school, the two decided to attend Cherokee High. In the book, “Cherokee County, Georgia: A History,” the two recalled being treated poorly on their first day.
“I remember us coming in one of the back halls and coming down the hall. It was as if everyone in the school had converged there, and as we walked down the hall, they backed out of the way,” Strickland said.
Although the women recalled difficult times, they both agreed they had no regrets being the first to integrate the school. Teachers Doris Yarborough, Bill Teasley, Sarah Donley and Helen Mauldin were fondly remembered by the two students for their support during that time.
Medical Detachment Mobile 40th
As we tell the stories of Cherokee County’s African-American community, we wanted to share this photo from our collection. This is the Medical Detachment Mobile 40th in France during World War II (Black Company, also listed as Truck Company).
Ralph J. Bunche School
Around Cherokee County, we know Ralph J. Bunche as the namesake of the Ralph J. Bunche school. Bunche is known for his work as a peace mediator; he became the first Black American to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.
Bunche started as a segregated high school that was integrated in the late 1960s. However, the history of the school dates back nearly a century prior. Hickory Log School is believed to have been started in 1870 on land donated by Amos Keith. The original Hickory Log school later became the Cherokee County Training School, and was then replaced by Ralph J. Bunche.
Gertrude Herbert served as the first principal in 1956, and students from Canton, Waleska and Woodstock attended the school. Students living within 1.5 miles of the school would walk, and students living farther away took a bus. Students participated in fine arts programs on the district, regional and state levels, winning several first- and second-place honors in drama, music, track and basketball.
The school is still in operation today, serving Head Start, pre-K and preschool students.
– History Cherokee is a nonprofit organization engaged in the collection, preservation and interpretation of Cherokee County. Through strong community partnerships, relevant educational programming, intentional collecting practices and historic preservation advocacy, we strive to:
• Serve as a trusted community resource for Cherokee County history.
• Inspire our audience to become empathetic and engaged citizens in their communities.
• Cultivate a love of learning and understanding about our shared past.
History Cherokee will be opening the much anticipated Cherokee County History Center in 2022. The History Center will engage with Cherokee County’s rich and diverse past through comprehensive and interactive exhibits, as well as serve as a cultural epicenter dedicated to preservation, research and education.