NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. – On Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 3 p.m., join Cape Fear Museum and the Williston Alumni Association for a special event and discussion to honor the history and legacy of Williston school. Hear from members of the community about Williston experiences and learn about the role the school played as a site of academic excellence and community pride.
For more than 40 years between 1923 and 1968, Williston was the only African American high school in New Hanover County. Despite the Brown V. Board of Education decision in 1954, North Carolina’s schools remained racially segregated into the late 1960s. In June of 1968, the Board of Education voted to close the beloved institution and sent its students to New Hanover and John T. Hoggard high schools. The school closing was felt deeply across the area as high school juniors were informed they would not be returning to Williston to complete their senior year.
Panelists for this free community conversation include Williston alumni and family members. Rhonda Bellamy, executive director of The Arts Council of Wilmington and NHC, will moderate the panel discussion.
This program will be held in the Williston Auditorium, aptly named to honor the school that so successfully served the African American community. Within the auditorium, visitors can Explore the Williston Experience, a collection of photographs and other historic artifacts that showcase the long, rich traditions in education in Wilmington and how the name “Williston” has been associated with schooling in the area since the 1860s.
Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, 814 Market Street, is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended summer hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m. through Labor Day; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. General admission is $8 for adults; $7 for seniors, students and military with valid ID; $5 for children 6-17; and free for children 5 and under and for museum members. New Hanover County residents’ free day is the first Sunday of each month. More information: www.capefearmuseum.com.
Photo: Seniors, Williston Senior High School Yearbook, 1968. Gift of Bertha Boykin Todd.