New Winston Museum’s May Salon Series- “Civil Rights Activism in Winston-Salem- School Integration”

By Staff

R. J. Reynolds High School principal, Claude “Pop” Joyner and Gwendolyn Bailey, at her enrollment at the school, 1957. - Photo Courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library.
R. J. Reynolds High School principal, Claude “Pop” Joyner and Gwendolyn Bailey, at her enrollment at the school, 1957. – Photo Courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 5:30pm, New Winston Museum will present the Salon Series panel discussion, “Civil Rights Activism in Winston-Salem: School Integration.”

Integration of the schools in Winston-Salem officially began after the federal mandate established by the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Ms. Gwendolyn Bailey became the first black student to attend R.J. Reynolds High School in 1957.  This, however, only marked the end of de jure segregation as black students continued to attend primarily black schools and white students continued to attend primarily white schools.  Though it was difficult and complicated, integration can be considered a success because it got black and white students in the classroom together.  There are still people who debate the benefits and the pitfalls of school integration, but either way, it shaped the face of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County today.

Special guests will be Daisy Chambers, the first black teacher on the faculty at Clemmons Elementary in 1964; Ms. Norma Corley, one of three black students assigned to integrate the formerly all-white Easton Elementary School in 1958; and Dr. Kenneth Simington, a student at Carver Elementary School in 1970 and currently the assistant superintendent for instructional and student services with WSFC Schools. The panel will be moderated by Alex Harris, a Salem College student and North Carolina native.  This event is the second of a three-part salon series on twentieth century civil rights activism in Winston-Salem. The final program on June 23rd will focus on the Black Panthers movement in Winston-Salem.

This event is free and open to the public. New Winston Museum is located at 713 S. Marshall Street, Winston-Salem. Additional parking is available in the Old Salem Visitors Center lot.