LHS to honor first black students with assembly

Published 10:36 am Thursday, August 26, 2010

Next Thursday morning, Luverne High School will hold a special ceremony honoring the 45th anniversary of the first African-American students being enrolled in the school.

“The program is going to include several speakers,” said Bennie McDonald, whose brother Joseph Harry McDonald was one of the first students enrolled.

McDonald also said that principal Chuck Alford will be presented with a plaque honoring Joseph McDonald, the first to graduate, which will be placed in the hall of the school.

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“A couple of those first students are planning to be on hand to talk to us, and we’ll also have administrators from that time period,” McDonald said.

Those who will be honored include: Joseph Harry McDonald (deceased), Shirley Ann McGhee, Mary McGhee Shackelford, Robert Douglas Sanders, Patricia McGhee Hinkle, Denise Rutledge Ware, Terrie McGhee Bedgood, Michael V. Richburg Sr., Denise Sanders Baker and Jonathan Ware.

McDonald said he also hopes that the event will help raise awareness of the $500 memorial scholarship set up two years ago in his brother’s memory.

That scholarship is awarded to a student of any race who has persevered and succeeded in the face of social disadvantages.

The memorial ceremony will be held on Sept. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Luverne High School auditorium, but visitors are encouraged to arrive early due to limited seating capacity.