CLEBURNE -- It was a high school reunion of historical proportions.

'It's amazing,' said Mildred McNeil, 91. 'I think this is amazing to be here together, all the different classes.'

Sitting in what used to be Cleburne's African American high school are six of its oldest remaining alumni.

'I was valedictorian of my class,' Hazel King said. She's the youngest of this bunch, at 86.

Herbie Stone is the oldest. She just turned 100.

These six graduates of Booker T. Washington High School, which closed in 1965 when segregation ended, were brought together by Cleburne officials Thursday. The purpose was to hear their stories and take their picture for an exhibit, which sits at the entrance to the now Booker T. Washington Recreation Center in Cleburne.

It was an admittedly embarrassing time for the United States, in which blacks and whites did not go to school together. But Thursday, there were only fond memories of the past.

'I never worried about what we didn't have,' King said. 'I always accepted what we did have and had a good time with it.'

Otis Franklin, 96, was just tickled to be reunited with his classmates.

'I just love them all,' he said.

We're told there aren't many alumni left. City Councilman John Warren, also a Booker T. Washington graduate, estimates there are only 30 living who graduated before 1958.

'We've come a long way since 1904 in bringing our city together, but we still have a long ways to go,' said Mayor Scott Cain.

The mayor is hoping the photo of these six people will help us always remember that.


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