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Anderson High School class of 1964 to celebrate 50th anniversary

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Beverly Funches Williams holds the 1964 Anderson High School yearbook at her house in Winston-Salem, N.C. Williams is an organizer for the Class of '64 50th anniversary reunion. (Bruce Chapman/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Beverly Funches Williams has fond memories of her time at the old Anderson High School, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

And this weekend, she’ll be part of a group of about 70 members of the class of 1964 who will together to talk about old times and see old friends.

The school closed years ago. The building is now the Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University. About 100 seniors graduated from Anderson in 1964.

“We have been able to stay together to keep the memories alive of our school,” said Williams, who was class president. “It is nice for the community to know that we are trying to keep the name alive.”

A breakfast will be held today at the Anderson Center. A reunion dinner dance will be held at 10 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn Select on University Parkway. The reunion concludes with a 10 a.m. worship service at Goler Metropolitan A.M.E Zion Church on East 14th Street.

Williams said she will display the original blueprints of Anderson at the reunion.

Anderson is part of the “Big Four,” the city’s four all-black high schools, during the segregation era. The others were Carver, Atkins and Paisley.

Anderson was known as Columbia Heights Elementary School when it first opened in the late 1950s. It was then renamed Columbia Heights Junior High School, and became Columbia Heights Junior-Senior High School.

It was later renamed Columbia Heights Senior High School.

In 1962, the Winston-Salem Board of Education changed the school’s name to Anderson High School, after Albert H. Anderson, who died in February 1962.

Anderson had worked as teacher and a principal of the old Columbia Heights High School in the late 1920s and 1930s. He also served as principal of Kimberly Park Elementary School and Paisley Junior High School.

During segregation, some gifted black students from Anderson, Carver, Paisley and Atkins took classes at Reynolds High School, the city’s premier all-white school.

Betty Terry, the valedictorian at Anderson in 1964, was one of those students. Terry said she took chemistry and math classes at Reynolds during the 1963-64 school year.

Terry said she remembered riding two city buses to Reynolds High from her home in Happy Hill Gardens.

“Once your class was over, you had to get out there,” Terry said. “We had a cab waiting on us.”

The students had to pay for a cab to take them back to Anderson.

“One of the teachers at Anderson helped us work that out,” Terry said.

She said segregation was the wrong approach for public education.

“It seems like there had to be a better way,” Terry said.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools fully integrated in the early 1970s under a federal court order. Anderson High then became a junior high school. WSSU bought the building in 1981 and uses it as a conference center and for classrooms.

“Our class was one big family,” Terry said. “I am looking forward to seeing some of the people I haven’t seen in a particularly long time.”