(Tune: Auld Lang Syne)
Dear Charles Brown High, we’ll ne’er forget
We pledge our love to thee
The green and white we’ll ne’er neglect,
Through all eternity.
To honor Charles Brown High Schoolmates
To honor Charles Brown High
We’ll always be devoted to
Our dear ole Charles Brown High.
Through all the years, we loved thee best
Our faith in thee remains
To you we owe our happiness.
We’ll return to you again.
History Of Charles H. Brown High School
It was 1901 and the beginning of the 20th Century. What would this new century hold for Black Americans (called Colored at that time) in this area of Northern Louisiana? A new school was organized on what is now Main Street in Springhill, Louisiana. The school would be called Springhill School and Mr. George Hunter would be the teacher.
In 1937 another teacher joined Mr. Hunter and the school’s name was changed to the Rosenwald School. The school was moved to a site across the street from its current location at 804 4th Street Southwest, Springhill, Louisiana.
Springhill Colored School
The year was 1948 and the new school year began with a new name Springhill Colored High School. Along with a new name came a newly constructed frame building which consisted of a gymnasium-auditorium, a library, and eight (8) classrooms. The former school (Rosenwald School) became the cafeteria. Mr. Charles Herbert Brown was assigned as principal with seven (7) faculty members and two (2) cafeteria operators (Mrs. Ever Lee Rhynes and Miss Floydia Robins) for a total of ten (10) staff members. There were 287 students covering grades 1-11. The school year duration was eight (8) months. It was during this school session that expansion and growth became tangible. Several purchases were made including a water fountain, stage curtains, basketball equipment, a stove for the cafeteria, a bookcase and flooring for the office. Shrubbery was planted on the lawn. Additionally, both water and gas lines were connected to the cafeteria. The school was progressing and all were filled with pride for the accomplishments during the 1948-49 school year.
September 8, 1949 was the date the 1949-1950 school year began with much anticipation. The previous year had been a stellar year and more of the same was expected. Mr. Charles H. Brown remained the principal. There were now nine (9) teachers. The two (2) cafeteria workers were new (Mrs. Ida Oliver and Mrs. Eula M. Willis). The school added another grade level, now the school covered grades 1-12. The student enrollment increased to 323 students. Again purchases were made to improve the school. The purchases included football equipment, a piano, and a Ditto machine. The library had a new magazine stand and a paper rack added. Home Economics was added to the curriculum. Springhill Colored High School was growing.
The new school year began on September 4, 1950. The student enrollment dropped slightly to 297 students. Mr. Charles H. Brown remained at the helm as the principal with nine (9) teachers. There were two (2) teacher trainees from Grambling College, Miss Mary Ella Morgan and Miss Gaye Olive Roberson. The cafeteria operators remained the same. The spring of that school year experienced many changes. On March 3, 1951, Mr. Charles H. Brown died. The faculty and students grieved the loss of their beloved principal. Mr. Condolee LaMourne Capers became the new principal on March 5, 1951. Mr. Joseph Braud replaced Mr. Capers in the Science and Mathematics Department. Mr. Roy Givens (coach) was inducted on October 23, 1950. Mr. Otis Moore (5th Grade teacher) replaced Coach Givens. In spite of the many changes and losses during the 1950-51 school year there were many memorable times. It was this year that the girls basketball team won the State Championship! Mrs. Irene Washington was their coach. Also, a scholastic honorary society was organized. An electric bell system was installed throughout the school. The school purchased about $2, 000 worth of football equipment.
It was indeed “the worst of times and the best of times.”
CHARLES H. BROWN HIGH SCHOOL
The 1951-52 school year earmarked the separation of the school into elementary and high school. The elementary grades covered 1-6 (grade seven was omitted by alternation of grades) and grades 8-12 was considered high school. Mr. Condolee L. Capers remained as principal. The school now had eleven (11) teachers. There were two new teacher trainees from Grambling College (Mr. Felton Thomas Banks and Mrs. Juanita Wallace Moore). The school continued to prosper and more items were purchased: an electric clock, a filmstrip projector, and new tables for the library. Additionally, the girl’s dressing room in the gym was equipped, four elementary classrooms were painted, and equipment for the Industrial Arts classes were obtained. Mr. Banks, the 6th grade teacher, lead his class in a special project for the cafeteria. Their class purchased a larger stand-in type refrigerator. The true highlight of the 1951-52 school year, however, was the name change of the school. It was changed from Springhill Colored School to Charles H. Brown High School. This was the final name change to honor the life and contributions of its former principal, Mr. Charles H. Brown.
On August 29, 1952, the 1952-53 school year officially began. The fourteen (14) faculty members welcomed the 420 students with great expectations. The school maintained the two cafeteria workers. However, now there were six (6) school bus drivers to cover all of the areas (Cullen, Cotton Valley, Sarepta, Shongaloo, and Springhill) that comprised the newly renamed school. Mr. Albert Dennis was hired as coach and would serve admirably for many years in that capacity. The first yearbook was published. Finally, Mr. John T. Coleman was named the new principal of Brown High School at the end of that school year.
Mr. John T. Coleman remained principal for the 1953-54 school year which opened on September 8, 1953. Mr. Coleman would continue to be Principal of Brown High School for the next 16 years. The school continued to grow with 13 faculty members and 334 students. The cafeteria staff also added an additional staff member, Mrs. Doyleaner Green, as the Cafeteria Manager. Many exciting things happened this school year, as well. A Story piano, a clock and warm-up outfits for both the girls and boys basketball teams were purchased. A Public Address System was installed and the PTA upgraded a picture of Mr. Charles H. Brown to be hung in the library. Perhaps, the biggest bragging points for that year was that the boys basketball team won the Northern Regional tournament and were honored as #1 Prep Team by news leaders! The community was proud of Coach Al Dennis as well who was named “Coach of the Year” by Grambling College!
The 1954-55 school year opened on September 3, 1954. Mr. Coleman continued to lead the school as its principal. Thirteen (13) faculty members and three (3) cafeteria workers comprised the staff. There were 399 students enrolled. The Webster Parish School Board donated 200 chairs. Basketball suits were purchased. Many trophies were also won that year. The school facility expanded with an additional building. This building would house the Principal’s Office, the Teachers Lounge, three classrooms and a new cafeteria. Brown High School was continuing its growth and expansion.
On September 6, 1955 the new school year began. The number of faculty members remained the same. The Industrial Arts, teacher, Mr. Ira King, Jr., was transferred to Cotton Valley as an elementary school principal. He was replaced by Mr. George Smith. The Physical Education and Health teacher, Mrs. Mary Ella Morgan Autry was on leave for the first semester and was replaced by Miss Elouise Stone. The school bought reading and achievement tests to measure its students’ progress. Brown High School’s Athletic Department continued to excel and many awards, letters, and sweaters were achieved.
The 1956-57 school year opened on September 4, 1958. One additional faculty member was added making a total of fourteen (14). Mr. John T. Coleman was still at the helm as principal. The teacher trainee from Grambling College was Miss Thessalonia Banks. For the first time the school had a marching band. Brown High School broadcasted on a local radio station. The choir marched in the Homecoming Parade (that was a first!). Purchases for that year included playground equipment, a movie projector, a tape recorder and chart stands for the Music Department. The Home Economics Department added a Nechi sewing machine and an electric stove. Souvenir programs were published for the first time. There were a number of “Firsts” that year. On a more personal level, Mr. Coleman, the principal got married as well as Miss Specks, a popular Mathematics teacher, also became a newlywed.
THE GROWTH OF C.H. BROWN
On August 30, 1957, the new school year began. A new teacher was added to the faculty making it a total of 15 teachers. The student body increased to 519 students. The purchases for that year included a pick-up truck and band uniforms for students. The second Tiger yearbook was published. Mrs. Autry served as chairman of the Professional Committee. Most significantly that year the A-Frame building was torn down and a new brick building was built to replace it. Additionally, a football stadium was built behind the gym.
On August 30, 1958, the 1958-59 school year began with a bulging student population of now 538 students! Again the faculty increased. This time with an additional three (3) teachers for a total of 18 teachers. There were four (4) teacher trainees (Mrs. Doris Lane, Mrs. Spears, Mrs. Evvie Ruth Jordan and Mr. Bell) from Grambling College. Students moved into the newly constructed building. A high school banquet was held for the first time. Library furniture was received. The District Basketball Tournament was held at Brown. Brown High School now had a Baseball team playing in the park. The school continued to improve.
Nineteen (19) faculty member greeted the 537 students for the new school year (1959-60) on September 3, 1959. Mr. Coleman, the principal, proudly accepted several teacher trainees (Miss Gloria Taylor, Miss Eula Moore, Miss Ethel Foreman, Mr. George Johnson, Miss Lee, Miss Lura Davis, Mr. Roosevelt Taylor, and Mr. Davenport) from Grambling College. Several student delegates were sent to the Louisiana State Association of Student Councils. An Honors Day Program was held to affirm students’ academic achievement. Talent projects were initiated. A Negro History Week Club was organized. The third yearbook was published. Brown High continued to extend its outreach and students were growing and achieving in all areas of the school.
The 1960-61 school year opened on September 2, 1960. Both staff and student body continued to grow. Now there were 22 teachers who greeted the 569 students with great expectations. A new school secretary, Miss Stella Davis, was added to the staff. For the first time a voting machine was used to count votes for Student Council election. The school was evaluated to show its improvement from the previous year. A fence was placed around the football field. The fourth Tiger Yearbook was published! The graduating class of 1961 was the largest so far with 55 graduates! On a more personal note Mrs. Faye Johnson became Mrs. Faye Thomas
Growth continued the following school year (1961-62) boasting a faculty of 23 teachers and a student body of 586 students on September 1, 1961 when the new school year began. There were three (3) Teacher Trainees from Grambling College who were Brown High School graduates: Miss Alma Tene Thomas, Miss Gloria McMurray, and Miss Margie Veal. The other Teacher Trainees were: Mr. Sydney Breaux, Miss Helen West, and Mr. Enoch Cross also from Grambling College. Students were involved in a wide variety of activities including a tour to Hot Springs, Arkansas as well as participation in the State Drama Festival. A band teacher was hired for the first time and the band received a Superior rating at the District Rally. There were also student winners on the State level at the LIALO. A Science Fair was held at Brown High School for its students. The first French class was taught on campus. Both First and Second place awards were won by students in Experimental French competition. Two students attended the State Association of Student Councils. Students participated in a national writing contest. The school now had a Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Quarles. The school was placed on the Approved List by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Yes! Charles H. Brown High School was improving in every way!
The 1962-63 school year opened on August 30, 1962. Twenty-one (21) faculty members warmly greeted the 575 students for this new year. The Teacher Trainees from Grambling College were: Miss Ruth Diaz, Mr. Kenneth Thomas, Miss Earlene Jones, and Mrs. Clara Bowie. Brown High continued to have great participation of its students in various activities including tours to Hot Springs, Arkansas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Municipal Airport in Shreveport and the Weather Bureau. Mr. Coleman, the Principal, attended the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in order to gain further knowledge to better prepare students for college. Brown High had a winning streak in sports – football, basketball, and baseball. The Girls Basketball team went to the State’s Semi-finals. Basketball sweaters were purchased for them. The Baseball team won Second Place in the Zone Playoffs. Kathryn Ballard, a Brown High School graduate took and passed the Air Force Trainer test. The Graduating Class had two (2) salutatorians that year. It was another year of striving and getting better.
The twenty-four (24) faculty members greeted 578 students at the onset of the 1963-64 school year. The Teacher Trainees from Grambling College were: Miss Byrd, Miss Shirley Howard, Mr. William Howard, Mr. William Collier, Mr. Gradie Hoff, and Miss Betty Benton (a Brown High School graduate). Mr. Dock Riser, one of the school’s bus drivers, became the school’s first security guard. Typing classes were taught for the first time. The Athletic Department continued to thrive by starting a Track Team. The school won District championships in football and baseball that year. The First Athletic Award and Honors Day for an outstanding student athlete, Willie Jiles, was held. Both the choir and band attended the State Rally after winning awards on the Regional level. This class now attained the distinct honor of being the largest class of graduates (56). The class donated and outdoor bulletin board as its gift to the school.
The 1964-65 school year opened with twenty-seven (27) teachers and 623 registered students! Growth was evident! A new secretary, Miss Dorothy Ford, was hired for the school. The Teacher Trainees from Grambling College were Mrs. Tommie Stephens West, Miss Ora D. Jenkins, Miss Brenda Smith, Mr. Lawrence Washington, Mr. Kimble and Miss Clark. Mrs. June Turner was hired as a part-time Guidance Counselor. One of the bus drivers, Mr. Julius Moore, passed during this session. He was replaced by Mr. George Marshall, as the new bus driver. The very first Mother-Daughter and Father-son banquet was held. Both the Boys and Girls Basketball teams participated in the Zone LIALO. The choir and small groups (trios and quartets) competed on the State level at Southern University after having placed in the Regional competition. Shirley Monroe was the first Debutante from Brown High School to participate in the First Annual Debutante Ball in Webster Parish. The class of 1965 boasted several students with better than “B” averages to include Rose Wilson, Annie Frederick, Rosie Greenard, Keith Sullivan, and Emma Speech. The class of 1965 donated a spotlight to the school. For the first time a bond was floated specifically to improve Brown High School
The 1965-66 school year began with great excitement. The school now had a new football stadium with a seating capacity of 1500. The stadium was fenced in with a track field, light, a press box, two dressing rooms, showers, a concession stand, restrooms, and an enclosed ticket booth at the gate. A 4-foot fence was placed around the playing field, but an 8-foot fence enclosed the entire stadium. Brown High School defeated Webster High School for the first time (42-0). This was a year of newness and physical expansion for the school. The cafeteria was renovated and made longer. A new wing for the high school was being constructed. The library was also renovated. A movie projector and two (2) televisions were purchased. Adult education classes were now being taught. Two of the outstanding teachers, Mrs. Quarles and Miss McDuffie took a leave of absence to further their education by studying in California. Again the school mourned the death of one of its own, Mr. Hayes Phillips, one of the policemen/security guards. The theme for the Junior/Senior Prom was “Roses and Moonlight”. The junior class did an outstanding job of decorating the gym with this theme. The senior class motto was, “Investment in Knowledge Pays Dividends”. There were 64 graduates breaking the former record of most graduates at 55.
The 1966-67 school year began with 64 teachers and the excitement of having a new wing now added to the high school. The new wing would house a Typing classroom and office, a French Lab, a General Science and a Biology Lab, a Science lecture room, a Chemistry and Physics Lab, four (4) classrooms, restrooms and a large bookroom. The PTA purchased shrubbery for the lawn. Brown High was evaluated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools Committee. Brown High students were active and thriving academically, athletically, and socially. Three (3) new members were inducted into the National Honor Society. The football team became North Louisiana’s Runner-up Champions. Unfortunately, they were defeated by Richardson High School from Monroe, Louisiana. Five students spent eight (8) weeks at Grambling College during the summer in Upward Bound (a federally funded program). These students also met with other students from various high schools on Saturdays throughout the year. The students were: Mattie Green, Lois Kirk, Mozella Walker, Linda Wortham, and Alma Salter. A trip was given to the senior class in lieu of a prom by the junior class to “Six Flags Over Texas”. The seniors created and published a school newspaper for the first time. Several seniors became Delta Debutantes: Mary Ester Thomas, Alma Salter, Alma Williams, Mary Nash, and Mattie Green. The class motto was, “We End to Begin.” The baccalaureate sermon was preached by Rev. L.C. Willis. The senior class gift to the school was a beautiful glass Trophy Case.
The 1967-68 school year began with 614 enrolled students along with thirty-three (33) faculty members. This school year would celebrate quite a few ‘Firsts”. An Awards Banquet was given for the first time. A “John T. Coleman Day” was celebrated for the first time. The Webster Parish Science Fair has was held at Brown High School for the first time. Mrs. Katie White was honored on Arbor Day by having a tree planted in her honor. This was a first, also. Several visitors/guests came to speak with students as part of the Guidance Program. Mr. Coleman’s picture was added to the library along with pictures of famous Negroes. The Neighborhood Youth Corps employed students to work on campus for the first time. Three (3) of our students participated in this program – Alma Salter, Mozella Walker, and Loyd Harris were library aids. A newspaper was published to summarize the major events of the school year. The class motto was, “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered”. The baccalaureate sermon was delivered by Rev. George C. Jaggers of Bossier City, Louisiana. The commencement speaker was Rev. Thurston C. Callier of Minden, Louisiana.
THE LAST TERM
The 1968-69 school year would prove to be the final full school term for Brown High School. The students did not know this when the school year initially started. Thirty-four (34) teachers warmly welcomed the 622 students of Brown High School. Miss Ruby Thomas was the secretary and yes…Mr. John T. Coleman was still the principal. It was an amazing year! The football team competed for the State Championship in high school football. Brown High School were state Runners-up! The breakfast and fitness program began. Many wonderful achievements were still happening at Brown High School. Many students competed in the LIALO rally which was held at Brown High School that year. Several of the students won coveted awards coming in first and second places. The library’s Card Catalog system was updated. A glass covered bulletin board was installed in the hallway, and intercom system was put into operation. Both Mr. Coleman and Mr. Doyle were selected by the WPEA as “Educators of the Year”. Mrs. Roby was the PTA President. The first PTA Founders Day was held at Brown High School. It was a good year.
The 1969-70 school year started with turmoil, anxiety, and anticipation. Brown High School would be closing its doors! This was a court mandate that schools could no longer be segregated by race or ethnicity. Mr. John T. Coleman was still the school’s Principal heading a faculty of 33 teachers. In spite of ALL that was going on, the students of Brown High School continued to excel. The boys and girls basketball teams became District Champions. Football players participated in Zone run-offs being defeated by Princeton High School. An elaborate awards banquet was sponsored as a final assembly for Brown High School students. Teachers were exchanged and Brown High School became Brown elementary serving grades 1-8. Brown High School with its many accomplishments closed its doors permanently as a high school. The date was February 5, 1970.
Transition in Education
During the 1960’s there was a district movement to enhance integration and to make it a reality. Meetings were held and studies were made to plan for this transitional period. Whereas, the most satisfying procedures could be utilized. Many forms of integration were attempted, such as, “freedom of choice”, which some students attempted but were not satisfied as time passed.
And then the “Real Day” arrived for the students of Brown High School to leave their “homeland school” and transfer to Springhill High School. It was a sad day for many students and some teachers, as well. Students wept openly with deep cries grieving the loss of their school and the “world they had known and loved.” Books and other teaching material were transferred from the Brown High School library to the Springhill High School library. Mr. Coleman, the Principal of Brown High School, escorted the high school student body to the “new” school where Donald Curry, the President of Brown High School Student Council, made the acceptance speech on February 5, 1970.
Donald Curry’s Acceptance Speech:
To the faculty and students of Springhill High School.
We appreciate the manner in which you are receiving us into your midst. We realize that these are difficult times for you just as they are for us.
When we made the choice to become a part of this school, it was with the knowledge that we have much to offer as well as much to gain.
We want the same things that you want, a quality education.
By working together, we can prove that quality is possible in a unitary system. You have shown us that you have the heart. Let us show you that we have the head.”