I love stories about history and historians and historical stuff — I just finished all 9 million pages of Ron Chernow's "Grant," for instance — so this look-back-in-time project led by High Point University's history caught my eye a few years back. Here's what I wrote about the William Penn Project back in 2015:
William Penn High School in High Point lives on in the minds and memories of its graduates.
Those recollections soon will have a home online.
A High Point University history professor, his students and the university’s Service Learning Program are delving into the history of this African American school that closed nearly 50 years ago.
Since 2014, HPU's history department (both faculty and students) and students at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts in High Point to document the history of William Penn, High Point's high school for African American students. The school on East Washington Drive closed in 1968, but the building is now home to the Penn-Griffin school.
The written, oral and visual project is finally done, and it's now online. You can check it out here.
The site is absolutely loaded. There are tons of photos, a bunch of short essays on topics ranging from athletics to students and audio of interviews with former William Penn students. Make sure to check out the page on the High Point sit-ins, which William Penn students started 58 years this week (and 10 days after the more famous Greensboro sit-ins).
The website was formally introduced Friday. The High Point Enterprise covered the event (sub req) and quoted the project leader, HPU history professor Paul Ringel:
“The most important thing for me is these stories need to be told in their voices. That’s why we wanted to do a website instead of a book. I want this to be easily accessible for anyone who’s interested, and that’s why I want to keep doing more interviews and adding to that collection. One of the biggest things is to get as many of these folks to talk as long as we still have their voices around.”
There's a lot that I (and probably you, too) didn't know about High Point's old high school. I'm going to spend some time today clicking around the site. You should, too.
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