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I pledge as an alumnus of James B. Dudley High School, always to up hold and support the honored tradition of this illustrious institution.
I commit myself to ever exemplify the high ideals of my Alma Mater, to give unselfish service to mankind, whether in the community, the state, the nation or the world. I will always assist in the search and solutions to many problems that plague society.
I now join with other alumni of the James B. Dudley High School alumni Association, Incorporated to render whatever service I can to perpetuate the noble work of our beloved “Dudley High.”
Dear Dudley High, our Alma Mater true,
Deep thoughts of love, we will always have for you.
We shall strive on, as others, too, have done;
And in thy strength life’s victories will be won.
Our Dudley High, we’ll ever praise and love Thee.
Success ahead through open doors we see.
Foundations built, our lives will forge ahead.
On love and kindness have our young souls fed.
Strength of our life, Dear Mother and our home, Be thou our light in all the years to come.
Our Dudley High, we’ll ever praise and love Thee.
Success ahead through open doors we see.
Doris McKethan ~ Class of 1944
TODAY A READER
TOMORROW A LEADER
JAMES B. DUDLEY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.
The first class graduated from Dudley High School in 1929, however the Dudley High School Alumni Association was not created until 1975. The idea of an alumni association and consolidated reunion began with Richard Bowling ’57 who proposed the thought to a gathering of alumni representing several classes at a meeting at his place of business, the Cosmos Club and Restaurant in Greensboro. Bowling witnessed many classes trying to sponsor their individual reunions investing a great deal of time and effort with very little success. He suggested they consolidate their efforts, share in the expenses, have a larger event, encourage and help other classes do the same, and create something all Dudleyites could be proud of. Almost everyone he spoke with agreed with him and offered to serve in any way possible.
The group talked of contacting members of their classes and other Dudleyites in order to develop interest in the formation of an alumni association. The response to their initial inquiries was so enthusiastic that the original committee proceeded with plans for a reunion that would include all former Dudleyites. They concurred that a reunion would be the best method for establishing the alumni association.
Credit and thanks are owed to those pioneering alumni who worked on the original Steering Committee: That group formed the initial Reunion Steering Committee which planned and implemented the first Dudley Consolidated Class Reunion. The reunion took place the weekend of July 23-25, 1976 at the Cosmos Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, and was considered a great success by all in attendance. Two principals, Mr. John Tarpley and Mr. Franklin Brown were honored on that occasion.
At the first reunion meeting on July 24, 1976, those present reconfirmed the desire to create an alumni association. Officers were elected, and they served as the steering committee until the writing of a proposed constitution and by-laws. Claudette Burroughs White ’57 was elected president.
The following year was spent recruiting new members. It is significant to mention the names of those joining the steering committee at its inception. They were:
Queen Bailey ’53
Ida Bracken ’68
Comey Enzlow ’35
Smith Greene ’62
Edna Palmer ’40
Estelle Tatum ’35
Norma Westmoreland ’56
These people, along with many others, busied themselves working on the Second Consolidated Class Reunion, which took place July 22-23, 1977. The theme used was, “Calling All Panthers”, and all Dudley teachers were honored that year.
Unfortunately, in the third year, some members had conflicting opinions regarding the philosophy and direction of the organization, which resulted in a separation of the association along ideological lines. A rival group was formed taking with it all records including the membership lists. A separate reunion was held the weekend of July 21-23, 1978 which caused a great deal of confusion among many interested participants. The president resigned and the vice-president was asked to carry on until the end of the year. The original Dudley Alumni Association held its reunion the same weekend honoring all Dudley athletes. The theme was “A Time To Cheer.” The friction did not please anyone in either group and many concerned individuals tried to help the two groups resolve their differences. A mediation breakfast was held with the executive committees of both organizations on July 23, 1978. At that time the dissenting group was dissolved and most of its members rejoined the Original Dudley Alumni Association, Inc. with Richard Bowling ’57 as president.
The reunion of 1979 was a celebration of Dudley’s 50th year and had as its theme, “Those Golden Years.” The constitution was adopted, and a charter was applied for and granted. A float was entered in the A & T Homecoming Parade and wide media coverage highlighted the fifty years of Dudley High School. At the banquet, a pageant written by Beatrice Herbin ’43 entitled, “Historical Moments” was presented. The pageant depicted the five decades of time since the beginning of Dudley High School. Richard Bowling ’57 was again elected president.
After the reunion celebrating Dudley’s fiftieth year, the Association became more active in its munificence to the community and to Dudley High School. Various fund-raising enterprises enabled the Association to:
– increase the scholarship fund
– make a donation to Union Memorial Methodist Church
– make contributions for equipment for the band and media center
– purchase draperies for the auditorium
– feed the football team before games, at home and away
– paid for postage and mailings to increase membership
The fifth reunion was held July 18-20, 1980, and had as its theme, “A Family Affair”, honoring all members attending the reunion. Estelle Tatum was elected president to serve through 1981. The Association awarded its first scholarship in honor of Mr. Franklin Brown to Tia Hodge ’80, daughter of Brenda and Johnny Hodge.
The Dudley Alumni Association, Inc. celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1995 and has established an excellent reputation for the support of the James Benson Dudley High School and its Alumni. An appreciation of this achievement can only be garnered through the knowledge and understanding of the organization’s history.
The Greensboro school system dates back to 1870, when Greensboro officially became a city. Education was first offered to Negroes in 1875, when the Percy Street Graded School was constructed. School construction was expansive; however, this was not the case for Blacks. After Percy Street School was erected, other buildings in the Warnersville section, especially on Ashe Street, were employed as schools until East Washington Street School was completed in 1912 or 1913. J.C. Price School was built in 1922.
While Negro graded schools were established along with the white, no provision was made for Negro public high schools until 1921. Bennett Seminary, a Methodist coeducational institution for Negroes and now Bennett College for Women did have a high school department and the Greensboro Board of Education arranged to give some public aid to local Negro students who wished to pursue their education at Bennett until 1926. Other than this, the public school used for high school by Negroes was the Washington Street School. When Bennett began to need its space for expansion as a college and after long and hard struggles of many who desired better education, the Board of Education finally established a high school for Negroes in 1929. The school was named the James B. Dudley High School for a past president of then A & T College. Students in Greensboro were placed at Dudley High School depending on which term they were presently in, resulting in graduating classes both at mid-term and at the end of the semester.
The new high school was developed during the time of segregation and separate but equal facilities was the law. Only $200,000 was appropriated for the construction and development of Dudley, however, this was to become one of the largest Black schools in the state of North Carolina. The responsibility for guiding the students and faculty of Dudley was led by John A. Tarpley. Along with other Dudley leadership, this Dallas, Texas native was selected by the Board of Education as administrative Supervisor of Negro students in 1932, a position he held until 1948. Dr. Tarpley served as administrator, counselor and father to thousands of Dudley students and teachers until his retirement in 1965. During these years, Dudley had met the challenges in every area of Black high school growth and participation.
In 1965, the challenge of the growth of Dudley in a changing society was passed on to Franklin J. Brown. Mr. Brown was already a true Dudleyite having been on the faculty since 1937. The movement for social change in this country dominated the students at Dudley as well, and in the midst Dudley was the scene of conflict in 1969. This conflict was commonly called a Black Revolution by the students and people of Greensboro. This attitude was in keeping with the movement in Greensboro by college students and others who challenged the system and who felt the new awareness that “Black is Beautiful.” As in most conflicts of this nature, good emerged and Dudley survived. It should also be noted that Dudley students assisted and participated in the 1960 Sit-Ins and the 1963 marches for opening cafeterias and restaurants.
In 1970, full scale integration of public schools was in progress. Students and faculty members at Dudley were moved to other high schools. The psychological effect of this was almost indescribable for many Blacks who were perplexed, confused and really anxious about the “last of Dear Ole Dudley”. For some, spirits were low and it seemed that community support decreased. The massive withdrawal of students from Dudley dimmed the traditional pride of the school athletic programs which had always been a highlight for Dudleyites.
Dudley has faced many obstacles during the years. Maintaining high achievement has been a constant focus and is getting considerable attention from school administrators and the community-at-large. Although integrated, Dudley has remained predominantly African American and shares the many challenges of many African American schools throughout the country. Resources have not been adequate to provide the support needed. Quite often, the primary support base has been Alumni and other advocates throughout the community.
During the years following integration, Dudley didn’t receive all the accolades she were accustomed, however she began to stabilize under Linda McDougle, who was the first female Principal. There was resurgence in sports during the late 1980’s under Principal Robert “Bob” Saunders. Dudley won two (2) State 4-A Championships and was runner-ups in two 3-A Championships in basketball.
For several years we heard rumors of the recommended closing of Dudley. Finally in 1999, the Guilford County School Board voted to close Dudley and this became a reality. Many alumni responded. The most common theme heard “You can’t close Dudley”. Dudley meant so much to so many in Greensboro and all over the world and certainly was one of the few African American schools left in North Carolina.
The Community organized in opposition to the closing and formed the “Committee to Save Dudley”. In 2000, the Guilford County Board of Education officially voted to rescind the closing. It was a victory for those endeared to this great institution and landmark of our community.
With Dudley not closing it meant replacement or repair. The next victory would be to renovate leaving this historically significant architecture in place. In 2002, it was decided to after considerable backlash and a real effort to build a new Dudley to restore Dudley leaving the original entrance in tact. The Building Committee was established and the building was completed December 8, 2004. It was also designated a National Historical Site in April 2003.
The new Dudley was dedicated April 16, 2005. This was a grand and glorious celebration with Phyllis Martin the current Principal, a 1978 graduate of Dudley. Dudley alumni were present to celebrate this historic occasion. Dudley continues to face challenges. A different day, a different student and a different time, all represent the importance of continuing the proud traditions of Dudley academics, sports, fine arts and scholarship.
The 2006-07 school year ended a year with 1400 students, 332 graduates, lots of turnover in staff, school uniforms, block schedules, 9th graders all over the place and a disproportionately high number of other concerns. Dudley still hangs on claiming its great name, honoring its past and growing into greater place for educational learning.
Dudley is dear to those who have walked the hallowed halls, sung the alma mater and appreciated the tremendous experience of her impact. It really is more than “bricks and mortar”. It is symbolic of years gone by and hearts and minds shaped to make a difference in cities and places throughout the world. Our Dudley High, we’ll ever praise and love thee. We dream of success ahead for the young, yet to come.
History Updated 2007
Claudette Buroughs-White 57’
The Dudley Alumni Association’s purpose is to represent all persons who shall be Alumnus, to sponsor consolidated reunions, to establish scholarships, to make gifts and donations to Dudley, to collect, study and publish history, to recognize deserving individuals for their contributions to the school, to advertise and to enter into purposes to further the school and alumni association.
Dudley Alumni Association, Inc.
PO Box 21971
Greensboro, NC 27420