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Josephine Boyd Bradley, who integrated Grimsley High, dies

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Fannie Thompson remembers her sister Dr. Josephine Boyd Bradley as being her role model.

"She loved books,” Thompson said. “She loved education, and she wanted us all to get an education."

Thompson thinks back to nearly 60 years ago when her sister was the first African-American to integrate at Grimsley High School.

"The biggest word I heard her use in describing that was 'fear' or ‘being scared,’” she said.

Bradley went to the school from 1957-1958, when it was called Greensboro Senior High School and was all-white.

She was the only African-American among nearly two thousand students.

“There was no one else that looked like her, so she didn't feel very comfortable," Thompson said. "She talked about the names, the remarks people made that weren't very kind."

Despite being harassed every day, often pelted with eggs, soaked in ketchup, and hearing racial insults, Bradley graduated from the school in 1958.

She was the first African -American in the state to graduate from what had been an all-white school. She earned her Ph.D. and later became a professor at Clark Atlanta University.

Bradley died in her home in Atlanta on September 15th.

A snapshot of her legacy has been captured through an exhibit in the main hall at Grimsley High School which includes a portrait of Bradley along with archived photos of her first days at the newly-integrated school.

"I guess it took that kind of person to endure what she endured," said Vivian McCullough who went to school with Bradley at Dudley High School.

"She was the smartest girl, might have been the smartest person in our class," she said. "She was the right person at that time to do what was done."

It’s a legacy of bravery and keeping education first that family and friends want Bradley to be remembered by.

"She was very courageous," Thompson said.