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  • I was only 14 years old and, I was afraid my father would be taken away from me.

    A knock came on my front door. I answered it, and there was Sheriff C.P. Dunn to serve my father a warrant.

    The Sheriff was there because the school board brought a brand new bus to carry twenty-nine Negro pupils up to Hamilton Holmes High School – sixteen miles out of town.

    And we refused to ride the bus.

    They had closed the formerly Beverly Allen High School. That was taken away from us.
    And we didn’t have no school for blacks in the town.

    We walked over to Twelfth Street to be enrolled in the all-white West Point High School. We were met at the door by the principal, Mr. Humphreys, and he told us that we could not register to be enrolled there.

    We marched downtown and we picketed. They sent the National Guards out to watch us. To see what we were going to do.

    They were all dressed in their uniforms and they were driving these large heavy jeeps with the cover over the top.

    So we just stood silently and held our placards. And, after that, we went back over to where we had all congregated over at the former high school. And they went on back to their station.

    Virginius Thornton and John Lee decided that the next morning we would have a makeshift school in the abandoned building.

    With the classes being taught by those two young men, it wasn’t acceptable, because it was all students from eighth grade to the eleventh grade, but we were all in one class. I think it was like ten days that they gave us to go to an accredited school.

    My father, Charles James Dobbins, was one of the eight parents fined $200 each, and the cost of court because you had to be sixteen or older before you could be out of school, and I was under the age of sixteen. That’s how my father was arrested.

    I was only 14 years old. I was afraid my father would be taken away from me.
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