BY THE DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
A local organizing committee of Campbell Elementary alumni who attended the school from 1962 to 1969 will celebrate the school’s legacy with a banquet recognizing and memorializing the school’s faculty and staff.
The banquet, set for Saturday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m., will be at the John H. Dickerson Community Center, 308 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd,. Daytona Beach. The theme: “Campbell Elementary: A Passion for Preparation.” Admission is $10.
The committee, led by former Campbell Elementary student Dr. Pamela Jackson-Smith, will meet every Monday at 6 p.m. at the Midtown Cultural and Educational Center, 925 George W. Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach. from now until the Aug. 23 event to keep things on track.
Committee members are looking for class and individual pictures, letters, report cards, homework assignments, textbooks, or any other Campbell Elementary memorabilia. All such materials will be duplicated if possible and returned after the banquet.
They are also searching for contact information for family members of deceased Campbell Elementary employees so those surviving family members can be invited to the event.
“The former students of Campbell Elementary School have come together to celebrate the legacy of the all Black educators and staff that made a profound lifelong impact on their students during our formative years,” Jackson-Smith said.
“We commemorate their passion for providing a stellar educational experience in spite of the turbulence of the civil rights movement. They gave us the confidence to stand and be proud of who we were in the face of the resistance we encountered when we entered Volusia’s desegregated secondary schools.
“Our educational experience at Campbell Elementary made us critical thinkers and academic achievers. I am forever grateful for the motivation, inspiration and exposure to academic excellence that I received as a student there. I can only wish that my grandchildren could receive the educational experience that we received at Campbell.”
The committee is compiling a list of everyone who worked at Campbell Elementary. Once the list is compiled, the committee will make a public records request to review the personnel files for Campbell employees who have already died.
Even that is a problem. State law allows school districts to destroy personnel records 25 years after an employee leaves the district, either by resignation, reassignment, or retirement.
Therefore, no personnel records are available for any Campbell employee who died, left the Volusia County school system, or retired before 1989.
Just one book
The main reference for information about education for Black students in Volusia County is found in a book entitled, “The Odyssey of an American School System: Volusia County Schools-1854 to 2000.” The book was written by a group of retired Volusia educators and published in 2000.
Some historical facts about Black education in Volusia County:
• It’s possible the first school for Blacks was set up in 1869, when the Volusia County school system was set up.
• One of Volusia County’s first superintendents, a Northerner named William F. Bucknor, tried to get Black schools funded by the federal Freedmen’s Bureau during the Civil War’s Reconstruction period, but the Bureau was dissolved when racist Southern Democrats took back control of the South before funding came in.
• In 1897, Black teachers formed their own teachers’ association separate from White teachers in the county.
• In 1902, White teachers were paid from $35 to $120 per month. Black teachers were paid from $32 to $50 per month. The racial disparity in pay was to continue for more than 60 years.
Oldest in Daytona
• Campbell Elementary began as Daytona Colored School in 1884 on Second Street. That’s the same location on which the Dickerson Center is now located. It originally educated Black students of all ages. Thus, Campbell is the oldest school for Black students in Daytona Beach.
• All-Black Daytona High School (later named Campbell Street High School) moved next to the Campbell Elementary site in 1909.
• From 1929 to 1931, Daytona Colored School was known as “Second Street Elementary.”
• “Second Street” was renamed “Campbell Street” in 1931, after British race car driver Malcolm Campbell, who set land speed records while racing on the Daytona Beach shoreline. Second Street Elementary and Daytona High School were both renamed “Campbell” soon thereafter. (Campbell Street was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in 1989.)
• Cypress Street Elementary (now Bonner Elementary) opened in 1926. South Street Elementary (now Turie T. Small Elementary) opened in 1943. Both came into existence due to overcrowding at Campbell Elementary.
• Turie T. Small was principal at Campbell Elementary before moving to South Street Elementary, which was later named after her. Evelyn Bonner taught at Campbell Elementary before moving to Cypress Street Elementary, which was later named after her.
• Campbell Street Elementary and Campbell Street High were housed in separate buildings on the same property. In 1948, Campbell High was split into a junior high and senior high and then was moved to South and Keech Streets. Campbell Elementary moved into the Campbell High building, where it remained until it was shut down as a consequence of school desegregation in 1969.
• The Dickerson Center is named after former Campbell Elementary Principal John H. Dickerson.
“Campbell Elementary is a vital part of the history of the Volusia County school system. We will honor that history by recognizing the teachers, administrators and staff members from Campbell Elementary. We would love to have the entire community to join us as we continue to make history,” exclaimed Jackson-Smith.
For more info, or if you have memorabilia or contact information for surviving families, contact Dr. Pamela Jackson-Smith at 386-447-8997; email firstname.lastname@example.org.