JES celebrates “First Time” Black History Program

JES celebrates “First Time” Black History Program

It was a First-of-its-Kind for Johnston Elementary


CAPTION:  Johnston Elementary Chorus.


By Judy Gibson Holmes

Johnston Elementary held their first Black History Program February 21 led by Coach Betty Edwards, the event coordinator. Coach Edwards said that she felt like the school needed to focus on bringing the local Black leaders to the children’s attention, so she coordinated inviting these fifteen local Black men and women into this first-time event.

Coach Edwards brought together not only historical Black History events but local as well. The program honorees were:Mr. Willie Campbell, the first Black Mayor of Johnston; Mrs. Dorothy Peterson, the first Black Mortician in Johnston; Mrs. Mattie Williams, first Black Secretary of Douglas Elementary; Mr. Hazel Smith, the first Black Barber of Johnston; Mr. Thomas McCain, the first Black Edgefield County Administrator of Edgefield County; Mr. Willie Bright, first Black Edgefield County Councilman; Mr. Adell Dobey, the first Black Sheriff of Edgefield County; Mr. Joe Albert Tanks, first Black Chief of Police of Trenton; Mr. Mack Ryans, the first Black Chief of Police of Edgefield; Mr. Lamaze Robinson, first Black Chief of Police of Johnston; Coach Antwuan Hilliary, the first Black Head Football Coach at STHS; Mr. Robert Heflin, the first Black Principal at JET; Mr. Joe Bolden, the first Black Assistant Principal at JET; Mrs. Majorie Bibbs the first Black Secretary at JET and Mrs. Artie Emmanuel, the first Black PTO President of JES.

The local Black honorees were brought into the program by the children dressed in special outfits provided by SoShee Boutique of North Augusta and K & J Boutique of Johnston. The honorees entered under a huge balloon archway and were escorted in on a rolled-out plastic red carpet.  Six young girls with baskets of flower petals walked in front of them with flower petals. Then the honorees were seated in special seats at the front of the school gymnasium by the stage.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education,” these words of Dr. Martin Luther King were the thoughts for this program.

The Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Kevin Butler. The Child Development Classes led in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The STHS Chorus sang. Mr. Gary L. Smith gave the presentation of “I; Have a Dream’.” The guest speaker was Mr. John Edwards, the son of Coach Edwards. The Johnston Elementary Chorus sang “’Sing about Martin’,” ‘Back of the Bus’, ‘Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.’”

JES students presented the “Who Am I?” Segment of the program with Mrs. Deloris Mathis Hazel. These students about a famous Black person and his/her contribution. The students participating were: Christian Herrin, McKenzie Brown, Treasure Key, Jalin Collins, Christian Haskins and Kobe Windless. These students connected with the audience so well that students were clapping and enjoying the presentations. After the “Who Am I?” session, adults and students walked in the African Fashion Walk. Closing the morning program was student Bryston Coleman, the JES Spelling Bee Winner.