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Gloucester’s first fully integrated class celebrates 50 years

For members of the Gloucester High School Class of 1969, this weekend is their 50th reunion. A half-century ago, they made history as the county’s first completely racially integrated class.

Hugh Newton and Faye Thomas Lemon, two of the 15 members of the class who are helping plan the reunion, said that the former all-black school, T.C. Walker, which served grades K–12, held its final high school graduation ceremony in 1968. That fall, all students in grades 10–12 were required to attend Gloucester High School, and T.C. Walker became a middle school.

Newton said that he doesn’t personally remember the details, but yearbook photos show that desegregation occurred in Gloucester over a period of four years, with the first black students entering Gloucester High School in the fall of 1965. The 1966 yearbook has photos of seven black students, he said, out of 524 total students whose pictures were included. He said he had no formal statistics.

The following year,...

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