Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY


April 13, 2012

Recorded History

Grant supports oral history project

GLASGOW — Richard Wilson was the only black student to graduate from Caverna High School in 1958, the first integrated graduating class. 

The Horse Cave resident’s recollection of attending an integrated school is that things went rather smoothly, which wasn’t the case in some communities when public schools integrated.

“As far as I can remember everything went along just fine,” he said. “I don’t think there were any problems.”

 While he was attending classes in a new school, he was not a stranger to his classmates thanks to living in a small town.

“Most of them I already knew,” he said.

Wilson’s personal story about the integration of public schools in Horse Cave and Cave City, among others’ stories, will be documented as part of an oral history project funded by a $2,000 grant awarded to the Horse Cave Development Corporation Inc.,  the city of Horse Cave and the Caverna Alumni Association by the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Once the stories are gathered they will be archived and held at the Kentucky Oral Commission and posted on a website called Horse Cave Stories.

“We’re trying to get different views of the integration; not tell just one side,” said Kenny Russell, president of the Horse Cave Development Corporation Inc. and project coordinator.

Prior to attending Caverna High School, Wilson attended the Horse Cave Colored School, which was merged along with Horse Cave and Cave City’s public schools to form the Caverna Independent School System. The merger took place in 1950.

The principal of the Horse Cave Colored School at the time of the merger was Newton Thomas. He was also the school’s basketball coach.

 During his time as coach, the basketball team won the Negro League State Championship in 1944 and 1945.

“He came into the new system at the high school as a science teacher,” Russell said, adding Thomas was the first black teacher at an integrated school in the state. “Most of the teachers in the colored school system were not actually state certified. He was the only one actually certified to be a teacher.”

An earlier oral history project documenting Horse Cave’s black community was done around 2003. Thomas was interviewed at that time. Thomas died in 2004.

Two of Thomas’ players, Clarence “Cave” Wilson and Carl Helem, went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, Russell said.

Both Wilson and Helem are also deceased, however, Wilson’s brother, Curtis, lives in Horse Cave, and was interviewed as part of the first oral history project.

Both Thomas and Curtis Wilson’s stories are featured on the Horse Cave Stories website.

“There will also be an interview with Mayor Randall Curry, who spent his first two years of elementary school in the segregated school system,” Russell said.

An interview from one of Thomas’ students, Ann Matera, of Horse Cave, will also be included.

Matera was a member of the 1958 class and one of Richard Wilson’s classmates. She recently described Thomas as “a wonderful man and a good chemistry teacher.”

Project officials want to gather the history of the time period before the information is lost forever.

Roy Dickie Reynolds was the first principal of  Caverna High School.

“He passed away a couple of months ago, so we see the urgency of getting this done right away,” Russell said. “He was one of the people we had on our interview list but he passed away and we did not get [the interview] done.” 

The interviews will take place this summer and will be done by Joanna Hay Productions of Frankfort.

Text Only
Local News
0419 Spring Flowers 3 GREAT PHOTO!.jpg

A bee pollinates a crab apple tree blossom in a yard in eastern Barren County. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times

  • Jimmy Allen Curtis, 55, of Red Boiling Springs, Tenn.

    Visitation will begin after 4 p.m. on Sunday and after 7:30 a.m. on Monday at Strode’s Gamaliel Chapel in Gamaliel.

    Funeral service will be 1 p.m. Monday, April 21, at the funeral home, with burial in Rocky Hill Cemetery in Monroe County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Patty J. Johnson Bennett, 61, of Smiths Grove

    Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Monday, April 21, at A. F. Crow & Son Funeral Home with cremation to follow the services.

    Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

    April 18, 2014

  • Geraldine L. Trobaugh, 79, of Moline, Ill.

    Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, at Esterdahl Mortuary & Crematory, Ltd., 6601 38th Avenue, Moline.
    Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 21, at the funeral home. Burial will be at Rose Lawn Memorial Estates. Memorials may be made to a charity of your choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bradley Scott Palmer, 44, of Glasgow

    A memorial service will be 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at First United Methodist Church in Glasgow.

    Hatcher & Saddler Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

    April 18, 2014

  • William Foster Doolin, 87, of Glasgow

    Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, April 19, at A. F. Crow & Son Funeral Home with burial in Fountain Run Cemetery. Visitation will begin at noon Friday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Reader-submitted photos

Glasgow Daily Times photos

Twitter Updates
Must Read
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Text Alerts