over a hundred years black children in Transylvania County attended separate
schools from white children. With
limited resources the dedicated teachers of French Broad, Everett, Glade Creek,
Shady Grove and the Brevard #2 Colored School (later Rosenwald) provided
elementary age students with the education to move on to the next level.
County did not have a high school for black students though. These students were bused to Ninth Avenue High School in
Hendersonville. Some students went to
live with family in other locations or attended boarding schools to further
In 1960 the
Transylvania Citizens Improvement Organization (T.C.I.O.) was created “to
promote the civic, educational, political and economic opportunities for African
American Citizens in Brevard and Transylvania County. The organization made an immediate impact by
fighting racial discrimination in both private and public institutions, and by
building coalitions with white citizens that created an avenue for all to
support a cause that helped to shape the future of Brevard and Transylvania
objective was the integration of Transylvania County Schools. Beyond integration was the concern that high
school students had to travel to Hendersonville to attend school even though their
parents paid taxes in Transylvania County.
Transylvania County Board of Education denied attempts to integrate the school
system the door was opened a crack when 9 African American students were
admitted to Brevard High School in 1962.
The T.C. I.O. decided to sue the Board of
Education to fully integrate Transylvania County School. In Federal Court in Asheville Judge Wilson
Warlick found in their favor and ordered Brevard High and Brevard Junior High to
integrate in 1963.
However, it was
not until the 1966-67 school year that the Transylvania County Schools became
fully integrated. Transylvania County
was among the first fully integrated school systems in the state of North
Transylvania County Schools can point to is the integration of the Brevard High
football team in the fall of 1963. Coach Cliff Brookshire invited the black
students to try out for the team. Six
made the team, paving the way for Brevard High to become the first integrated
high school football team in North Carolina.
|1963 Brevard High Football Team
pushed all his players hard but equally.
While there was some opposition both in Brevard and on the road the
attitudes began to change with each win.
Paul “Scruggs” Gardin, the first black player to see action, scored the
first three times he handled the football. The team finished the season 10-1-1 and was the AAA
Brookshire’s leadership and the team bond helped students work through
the difficult times on the field, as they traveled and in the hallways and
classrooms at school.
Sources for this article included Reflections: TCIO Celebrates 40 Years of Community Service, Brevard…Standing Alone : North Carolina’s First Integrated Football Team, The Untold Story and articles by Tyler McCall and Leslie Parker Borhaug in The Heritage of Transylvania County, Volume II.
information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs.
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-3151 X242.