LHS presented with plaque honoring ‘the Luverne 10’

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alumni, faculty and current students gathered last Friday morning in the Luverne High School auditorium to honor Joseph Harry McDonald and the rest of ‘the Luverne 10’.

That nickname was given to the first 10 black students to be enrolled at LHS, of which McDonald was the first to graduate.

One of the highlights of the assembly was the presentation of a plaque that will be hung in the halls of Luverne High School.

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Lois Turner Truss talked about how the idea for the plaque started: it began following a Facebook status.

Several people helped form a plan to make the memorial a reality.

Truss also talked about life in Luverne in the 1960s, and several other speakers also spoke on that subject.

“We need to think of these people as pioneers like Columbus, Alan Shepard, or John Glenn,” said Charles Sport, who was a coach at Luverne at the time.

Douglas Sanders, one of the original 10, brought a message of unity to the student body.

“We’re all being measured, tested and educated,” he said. “It never ends. We all have to learn to work together.”

Terrie McGhee Bedgood, another of the original 10, shared memories of the first day of school in 1965, where the students were met by protesters, Klan members throwing bricks and racial slurs.

Bedgood also spoke about character, integrity and not letting anything stop you from achieving your dreams.

“Nothing can kill your vision once you have one,” she said. “You have to learn that what you have on the inside is what will take you where you want to go.”

Judge Jim Perdue, who graduated in 1969, spoke about the eulogy he gave at the funeral of Joseph Harry McDonald, and McDonald’s brother Bennie capped the ceremony with a few comments.

“I want to say thank you to everyone that made this happen,” he said. “I never would have thought that so much support could come.”

Bennie has also helped establish an annual scholarship in honor of his brother.

Martha Morgan, who provided a brief history of integration in Crenshaw County, presented the plaque to McDonald and the school.