Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about Campbell Street Elementary, a historically Black grade school in Daytona Beach that closed in 1969.
BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Dorothy Moore taught in the Volusia County School system for 34 years, spending two years at Bonner Elementary, a year at Turie T. Small Elementary and then a decade at Campbell.
She is one of several teachers who will shed light on Campbell Street Elementary when alumni meet on Aug. 23 for a school reunion.
Campbell Street Elementary was phased out during the years following desegregation in 1969. At that time, students were bused to other elementary schools nearby. That year Moore transferred to Westside Elementary where she finished out 20 more years in the school system.
“You know I sit back sometimes and I wonder if anybody ever asked me what year Campbell Elementary went through integration would I be able to tell them,” the sharp 81-year-old told the Daytona Times.
She was a 21-year-old graduate of Bethune-Cookman College (now University) with a degree in elementary education when she began her teaching career.
“I had some of the brightest students,” Moore exclaimed, while talking about her 5- and 6-year-old pupils. “Many of whom have gone on to be lawyers, doctors and city administrators,” including Percy Williamson, director of Leisure Services for the City of Daytona Beach as well as Attorney Charles W. Cherry II, publisher of the Daytona Times.
“They were well behaved and enjoyed learning their lessons,” she noted.
Moore’s daughter Melvese Moore Jones also attended the school. “I went there for first and second grade,” Jones remarked.
“It was first, second and third,” Moore corrected.
Moore said with a chuckle, “I remember because she had the same teacher in first and second grade – Doris Christian – and she wanted her again in third. But I told her that Mrs. Christian can’t always be your teacher.’’
A favorite teacher
After the school was shut down in 1969, Moore went on to Westside Elementary.
She shared a story with the Daytona Times that was told to her on several occasions of one of her parting pupils.
“This is one of the stories that was told to me. One of my male students told another teacher that he felt like walking out in front of a transfer truck so the teacher asked him ‘Well, why would you say that?’’ And he told her, ‘because Mrs. Moore isn’t going to be our teacher anymore. We love Mrs. Moore.’ I’ll always remember that because the students really loved me and I them.”
Following desegregation, Moore said, there was no animosity shown toward her and no harassment from other teachers or the administration.
“We had it good,” she said, adding that the same could not be said of some other teachers in different areas.
“The students really hadn’t met anybody too much. They had White teachers and had met White people. But it was new.”
Moore also explained how the children she taught all got along with one another – Black and White.
There had to be a certain number of Black students and a certain number of White students in each class to follow the law. At times, students and teachers would be moved to make sure the numbers were correct.
Aug. 23 banquet
Alumni who attended the school from 1962 to 1969 are planning a reunion banquet to celebrate the school’s legacy by recognizing and memorializing the school’s faculty and staff.
The banquet, set for Saturday, Aug. 23 at 2 p.m., will be held at the John H. Dickerson Community Center, 308 S. 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 Street 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.
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.
For more information 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.