Graduating from nursery school, May 1967

CFM 1992.163.0802
Gift of Henrietta Adams

Description: This black-and-white photograph measures 7 1/16 x 5 inches.

History: Photographer Herbert Elijah Howard (1907-1985) was a native Wilmingtonian. Mr. Howard was a prominent member of the African American community. He graduated from Williston Industrial School, the local black high school. As an adult, Howard was a leading member of St. Stephen African Methodist Episcopal Church and a charter member of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Mr. Howard was a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and, as a side business, he set up the Howard Photography Studio in his house.

This image is one of more than 1,200 prints that were donated to Cape Fear Museum by Mr. Howard’s sister, Henrietta Adams (1907-2003), in the 1990s. The collection documents African American life in the Port City.

At the time Pamela Logan graduated from Mabel Barfield’s nursery school in 1967, Wilmington’s schools were in flux. The Supreme Court declared in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling that segregated schools and facilities were inherently unequal. This marked the beginning of the end of legal segregation throughout the South. Still, change came slowly. North Carolina and New Hanover County dragged their feet over implementing desegregation ruling, and the courts had to force the county to desegregate. It was not until 1968 that real change occurred, and when it came it was not handled in an equitable manner. After school let out for the summer in 1968, the county announced that it would close the all-black Williston High School. That September, the Williston student body was sent to New Hanover High and John T. Hoggard High schools. Tensions were high, and violence marred children’s school experiences in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

814 Market Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-4370 • Fax 910-798-4382