Black students ‘reunited again’ after 40 years

Filed under DAYTONA BEACH

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Mainland and Seabreeze Senior High Schools’ Class of 1974 held reunion activities in Daytona Beach last weekend, with 85 alumni traveling from as far away as Minnesota to attend.

Class of 1974 members attend church. Bottom row, L-R: Carmen Williamson, Glenda Blackman, Posie Elliot, Tommy Roland, Cynthia Slater, Lenita Shervington, Vanessa Lloyd. Top row: Linda Streeter, Laverne Bell, Jenny Salami, Lutheria Rooke, Ronester Reed, Charline Gooden.

Class of 1974 members attend church. Bottom row, L-R: Carmen Williamson, Glenda Blackman, Posie Elliot, Tommy Roland, Cynthia Slater, Lenita Shervington, Vanessa Lloyd. Top row: Linda Streeter, Laverne Bell, Jenny Salami, Lutheria Rooke, Ronester Reed, Charline Gooden.

Events included a meet-and-greet on Friday, June 6, at the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort; a Saturday picnic at Cypress Street Park, followed by a gala/prom with dinner and dancing at the Hilton, then a stop at the Ocean Deck late Saturday night. The weekend ended with a Sunday morning church service at New Life Church Ministries, where class member Charline Gooden serves as first lady.

Public school desegregation efforts began in earnest in 1968 in Volusia County. For almost two decades, the Volusia County School Board refused to implement the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision which outlawed racially “separate but equal” schools in America.

The men of the Class of 1974 at the meet-and-greet.

The men of the Class of 1974 at the meet-and-greet.

When the School Board decided to finally comply with Brown, it did so by closing down Campbell High School in 1969, which had served as Daytona Beach’s only Black high school for 40 years.

Black high school-aged students were bussed out of their neighborhoods to Mainland or Seabreeze, the only public “senior” high schools (grades 10-12) in the Daytona Beach area at the time.

The Class of 1974 was among that group. It was one of the first groups of Black high schoolers to graduate from racially desegregated high schools in Volusia County.

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