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Class Acts
Second-to-last graduating class of Emmett J. Scott High School celebrates 50 years

TYLER SCHOOLS | REUNION

In her 1967 yearbook, sophomore Marie Washington smiled through a pair of wing-tipped black-framed glasses, her short bangs inches from the rims, her cheeks full of life.

Now named Marie Taylor, the 1969 graduate of Emmett J. Scott High School, was one of the organizers of a 50-year class reunion this weekend that brought more than 60 people together in Tyler.

Taylor's was the second-to-last class to graduate from the school, before it was closed in June 1970 as part of a desegregation plan approved by a federal judge to integrate white and black students.

"That '69 class was a very good year," Taylor said. She

said the class is still united; classmates have gatherings every two months and routinely collect funds to send flowers to families on occasions they need them. "We just haven't forgotten each other."

The class of 1969 had about 310 graduates, Taylor said. Those who attended the reunion at Staybridge Suites came from places as far as California, Oregon, New Jersey, Alabama and Oklahoma.

"We were the high-stepping rosettes, and we had excellent basketball and football teams," Taylor said. Many have gone on to become nurses, doctors, judges and college professors, she said.

On Friday, the class held an opening ceremony with a speech from Councilman Ed Moore, class of 1966, followed by a mixer. On Saturday, they attended a social at Woldert Park, received a resolution from the Smith County Commissioners Court from Commissioner JoAnn Hampton and held a red carpet event.

Maxine Marshall, who was a majorette and played in the marching band, was the chair of the reunion's planning committee. She said she wouldn't change a thing about her high school days, and wishes more students could have attended.

"It was just a fun time," Marshall said. "And you know they closed our school down in 1970, and a lot of the students that did not get to go there they wish they had."

HISTORY OF EMMETT J. SCOTT HIGH SCHOOL

What later became Emmett J. Scott High School began as an all-black school built in a four-room building on Herndon Avenue in 1888 during a time of segregation. The original school housed grades 1 through 10, and its first graduating class had four students.

The school was later expanded, and added a building called the Northwest School, according to a documentary by the city of Tyler. The school had consistent problems with overcrowding, and teachers routinely worked across grade levels to compensate for shortages, the documentary said.

The original school burned in 1921, and students were taught in local churches while a new school was built. The resulting school on North Border Street was called Emmett Scott School, and included elementary and junior high school classes.

Those students were later moved to T.J. Austin Elementary School on Franklin Street, built in 1954, and W.A. Peete Elementary School, on Bellwood Road, built in 1955. Those schools are still standing today and part of the Tyler Independent School District.

The final Emmett J. Scott High School was built in 1959 on West Lincoln Street, on the corner of North Confederate Avenue. The school's namesake was a Houston native, journalist, author, educator and adviser to Booker T. Washington. Scott had died two years prior to the new school's construction, in 1957.

Part of the Tyler Independent School District, the school offered academics, arts and athletic programs that alumni said often won championships. The mascot was the bulldog. Students called themselves Scotties, and to this day, students proudly call themselves Scotties.

However, federal judge William Wayne Justice allowed the school to close in August 1970 as part of an agreement to integrate Tyler's public schools after many years of delaying racial integration by a mostly white school board, according to the Tyler Loop.

"It stayed up for a little while, and they were going to try to make like a recreation place with it," Marshall, the reunion's chair, said. "It turned into the YMCA over here in north Tyler and finally since it could not go any further, I think they tore it down. Texas College has since bought the land."

The federal judge who approved the desegregation order closing the school said in a 1991 biography: "I had ambivalent feelings about the way they had done it, but it did accomplish what I was demanding," the racial integration of Tyler's public schools.

Nearby land in what the city has since designated as the Texas College District is now preserved as Emmett J. Scott Park, with tree-shaded areas, a playground, sports fields and picnic tables. Texas College also has an event center named for Emmett Scott.

In July of 2012, the city of Tyler honored the school as a historic landmark, and the plaque can be seen today in green space at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Englewood Avenue.

THE CLASS OF 1969

Carolyn Kirkland worked as a teacher for 31 years. She didn't plan to go to college until her teacher, Ora Jane Taylor, pulled her aside and asked her what she wanted to do, and then said hanging around Tyler was not an option. The teacher didn't push her into the education field, but she ended up there anyway.

Kirkland got her bachelor's degree from Prairie View A&M University, and later a master's degree from the University of Texas at Tyler. She taught for 21 years in Chapel Hill, for one year in Bullard and for six years in Frankston before working as a substitute in Lindale during her retirement.

"I just feel like we got the best of education," she said. "When I went off to college, I was told by one of the professors that when they got Emmett Scott kids, they knew they got good students."

Dianna Younger, of Tyler, the cheerleading captain in 1969, also feels she received a top-notch education at the school.

"Even though (teachers) had large classes they still worked with us individually to make sure that we learned what we were supposed to be learning," she said.

Frederick Wayne Biggs, of Dallas, recalls a strong sense of community among those on campus.

"My favorite memory was when people didn't have food how people were willing to share their lunches," he said. "It was such a loving, giving atmosphere."

While many in the class describe feeling cared for and loved by teachers and administrators, they also knew they had to meet high expectations.

"If you got caught shooting hooky or with your shirt tail out, (Vice Principal) Alvin Anderson would say, 'Hey cat, come here and let me talk to you,'" Biggs said.

He said those conversations — along with several wooden paddles used by teachers and administrators to discipline misbehaving students — could be very convincing.

Biggs beamed with pride as he caught up with several of his classmates during a gathering at Woldert Park on Saturday.

"It wasn't about material things then, it was just being loved and loving one another," he said.

"This is why all this love is showing right (here) today," Biggs said as he looked toward his former classmates.

Kirkland, the retired teacher, fondly remembers the basketball team and the marching band, but said the football team wasn't too memorable. What she remembers were the teachers pushing students to be their best, and the closeness of her classmates.

"The thing about that school is we knew everyone in our grade level, the year above you, the year below you, so we all were like one big family," Kirkland said. "We were like sisters and brothers."

Staff writer Augusta Robinson contributed to this report.

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @_erinman sfield

"It wasn't about material things then, it was just being loved and loving one another. This is why all this love is showing right (here) today.

— FREDERICK WAYNE BIGGS


Impeach Trump? Most Democratic candidates tiptoe past the question
2020 ELECTIONS

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in Congress have argued that impeaching President Donald Trump is a political mistake as the 2020 election nears. Most of the candidates running to succeed him seem to agree, for now.

Fewer than one-third of the 23 Democrats vying for the nomination are issuing calls to start the impeachment process, citing evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller's report they believe shows Trump obstructed justice . Most others, including leading contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, have found a way to hedge or search for middle ground, supporting investigations that could lead to impeachment or saying Trump's conduct warrants impeachment but stopping short of any call for such a proceeding.

The candidates' reluctance, even as more congressional Democrats start pushing their leaders in the direction, underscores the risky politics of investigating the president for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Impeachment matters deeply to the party's base but remains unpopular with most Americans.

White House hopefuls may win praise from liberal activists by pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for an impeachment inquiry, but those who fall short of insisting are unlikely to take heat from early-state primary voters more focused on other issues.

"People talk about it and people have opinions about it, but health care is much more salient to them," Sue Dvorsky, a former head of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in an interview. "I just don't see Democratic activists here all worked up about impeachment. They trust Pelosi."

The 2020 candidates are facing pressure from the left to take a harder line on impeachment as the Trump administration's stiff-arming of subpoenas leaves House Democrats fuming and a growing number of lawmakers urge Pelosi to initiate an inquiry constitutionally required to remove Trump from office. Leah Greenberg, co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible, described the absence of louder calls for impeachment from the candidates as "a real gap in leadership."

"What we're seeing is, some Democrats would prefer to keep the topic focused on places where they're most comfortable and

some Democrats would prefer to play pundits on this," Greenberg said in an interview.

Tom Steyer, a California billionaire, has run television ads and held town halls across the country as part of a campaign calling for Trump's impeachment. He suggested that candidates who haven't yet endorsed impeachment "have a political problem telling the truth about this."

Steyer said that if the public saw televised, unfiltered hearings that showed "exactly how bad this president is and exactly who he's surrounded himself with and how corrupt he really is," Democrats and Republicans alike would "reject that kind of behavior." Steyer declined to enter the 2020 presidential race himself.

The administration's blockade of congressional investigations and Mueller's report detailing possible obstruction action have yet to push any new Democratic candidates off the fence.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current front-runner, said last month there is "no alternative" but impeachment if the administration keeps stonewalling congressional investigations. But Biden has notably stopped short of urging Pelosi to move forward.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who's running second in most polls, told CNN this past week "it may be time to at least begin the process" which could result in impeachment. But he warned in the same interview that Trump could try to exact political gains from any impeachment effort. Pete Buttigieg said last week that Trump "deserves impeachment," but the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, stressed that he would defer to Pelosi on the timing for taking any formal steps.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told The Associated Press on Friday that Trump's refusal to cooperate with Congress amounts to "undermining the Article I branch of the government's ability to conduct its constitutional mandates." But he gave Pelosi wide leeway.

The most vocal pro-impeachment candidates are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Obama housing chief Julian Castro. Two others, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and California Rep. Eric Swalwell, also have supported the start of the impeachment process.

Moulton and Swalwell are among four candidates could vote on impeachment, as current House members. Pelosi and other House leaders have signaled clearly that they want to pursue investigations into Trump, including two lawsuits where they scored victories this past week, rather than start a consuming and politically uncertain impeachment process. If the House did vote to impeach Trump, the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate to support conviction in order to remove the president from office.

Given the slim likelihood of that, it's no surprise to Democrats outside the nation's capital that impeachment isn't gaining steam among the candidates.


East Texas Food Bank's Summer Food Program to start Tuesday
NONPROFITS | NUTRITIOUS MEALS

Children who may rely on free or reduced-priced meals during the school year will not have to go hungry this summer.

The East Texas Food Bank will kick off its Summer Food Program at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Glass Recreation Center, 501 W. 32nd St.

As part of the program, children are provided nutritious meals at no cost to them at over 50 sites throughout East Texas.

"The East Texas Food Bank's Summer Food Program is one of the most important child hunger programs in our community," Dennis Cullinane, CEO of the East Texas Food Bank, said in a news release. "Every year the Summer Food Program provides nutritiousmeals to fill that all important free or reduced lunchtime meal gap that is left when our kids are away from school on summer break."

According to the East Texas Food Bank, when the school year comes to

a close, children across East Texas will lose access to free and reduced-price meals they depend on for nourishment, including the more than 75,000 children in the 26-counties the nonprofit serves.

Meals are provided to those 18 and under at participating feeding sites. Children who show up don't have to register or provide proof of age or income. Meals and snacks are also available to those with disabilities, over age 18, who participate in school programs for people who are disabled.

The East Texas Food Bank purchases all the food for the Summer Food Program. Those who wish to make a monetary donation, or find the site nearest to them, can visit EastTexasFoodBank.org/SummerFood.

CLOSER LOOK

IF YOU GO

ANDREW'S PARK

1358 E. Richards

May 28 – June 16

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1p.m.

BERGFIELD PARK

1510 S. College Ave.

May 28 – Aug. 2

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

CHURCH ON FIRE

2159 Deerbrook Drive

June 24 – July 26

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 8 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.

Lunch: noon - 1 p.m.

GLASS RECREATION CENTER

501 W 32nd St.

May 28 – Aug. 2

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

IN THE VALLEY

7817 CR 485

June 3 – August 16

Monday – Friday

Lunch: 11:00am – noon

JOURNEYS OF THE HEART

901 N. Broadway

June 3 – Aug. 16

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Lunch: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

LIBERTY ARMS APARTMENTS

2601 N. Broadway Ave.

May 28 – Aug. 2

Monday – Friday

Lunch: noon – 1:00pm

LINCOLN PARK (EMMITT SCOTT)

1710 N. Confederate

May 28 – Aug. 2

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1:00 p.m.

PT COLE PARK

1001 S. Vine

May 28 – Aug. 2

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1:00 p.m.

ROSE VALLEY APARTMENTS

1007 NNW Loop 323

May 28 – Aug. 16

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 9 a.m. -10 a.m.

Lunch: noon-1 p.m.

TOWN PARC APARTMENTS

2202 WNW Loop 323

June 3 – Aug. 16

Monday – Friday

Lunch: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

VICTORY PARK APARTMENTS

2700 N. Grand

June 3 – July 16

Monday – Friday

Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1:00 p.m.

WIC CLINIC – TYLER AMHERST

225 E. Amherst, Suite 800

June 3 – Aug. 16

Monday – Friday

Lunch: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WIC CLINIC — TYLER BROADWAY

815 N. Broadway

June 3 – Aug. 16

Monday – Friday

Lunch: 11 am – 1 p.m.

For a complete list of feeding sites in East Texas, go to EastTexasFood Bank.org/SummerFood.