The Concerned Friends of Booker T. Washington High School sponsored a fundraiser to celebrate the HISTORIC BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL which had its beginning at JOHN T. WEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL beginning in 1911. According to historic records, in May 1914, the state board of education endorsed having a high school and the local board of education passed an act giving Virginia its first accredited public high school for Negroes. Because of the increased growth in the number of students attending the high school, a new site was officially opened in 1917 and it became known as BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL. In 1924, a new building opened with Winston Douglas at the helm. During this time, “THE FACTORY” as it was affectionately called by the students, was also known as the “FIGHTING BOOKERS,” and the “MIGHTY BOOKER T.,” was making its name known throughout the state – ACADEMICALLY, ATHLETICALLY and MUSICALLY.
In addition to the overview of the history of our beloved BOOKER T. by Jessica Harvey who represented the Multi-Cultural Committee, the audience was entertained by Jalen Smith, a Booker T. student, who opened the concert with a gospel solo. Regina Mobley, WVEC TV news anchor, was the hostess extraordinaire for this affair. During intermission, two former teachers – MRS. VIVIAN WEST and MR. SAMUEL L. ROUNTREE – were acknowledged for their contributions to the education of the students at Booker T. Washington High School.
A most appreciative audience enjoyed an evening of wonderful soulful music performed by Booker T. “alums” CONNIE PARKER with her melodious mellow voice, and VINCE PREISTER and his sweet saxophone sound; and the Now and Then Trio. The concert goers were treated to a special guest artist Brenda Liverman who wowed the audience with her rendition of “Memories.” Connie had all of us on the edge of seats and wanting more as she sang “The Day I Stopped Loving You … The Day you Stopped Loving Me Is the Saddest.” The audience was treated to other familiar songs including “Drink Muddy Water;” and Vince’s signature piece, which was beyond outstanding, “If You Don’t Know Me.”
For those who missed this musical extravaganza, please look for upcoming information concerning another concert this spring. YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THE NEXT ONE. IT WILL ALSO BE HELD IN THE AUDITORIUM AT BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL located in NORFOLK, VIRGINIA on the corner of Virginia Beach Boulevard and Park Avenue. IT IS OUR SCHOOL THAT MANY PEOPLE FOUGHT TO KEEP ALIVE WHEN OTHER NEGRO, COLORED, BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN SCHOOLS WERE BEING CLOSED or LOSING THEIR IDENTITY. LET US CONTINUE TO SUPPORT BOOKER T!!!!
Special thanks, was listed on the program, to Dan Ryan’s, Stark and Legum, Ray Patel, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing and Gethsemane Church.