Written by Blake Evans, AU Graduate Assistant
Notasulga Elementary/High School held its Black History Program on Monday, February 24. The program provided an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, parents, and guests to remember the past while appreciating the present. Notasulga’s choir, led by their principal, Ms. Sullen, sang numerous songs that promoted values such as unity and equality. Furthermore, students of all ages participated in various types of skits that reminded people of particular moments in the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the freshmen class acted out the life of Emmett Till, a young African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi during the 1950s.
Notasulga’s guest speaker was Willie Wyatt, Jr. Mr. Wyatt was one of six African-American students to integrate Notasulga High School in the spring of 1964. He told stories of the struggles that he and his fellow classmates faced during the days of integration. One memorable story he told was of the first day the students attempted to integrate the school. The six African-American students boarded a bus to ride to the school. Upon their arrival, they were told that they were not allowed to enter because an additional six students would create a fire hazard for the school. Immediately following that announcement, state troopers boarded the bus and beat a photographer who had sneaked aboard with the six students. Mr. Wyatt admitted that the process of integration was difficult, but he believed it was the right thing to do.
Ms. Sullen concluded the night by presenting Mr. Wyatt with a Notasulga Blue Devils t-shirt and watch. She also reminded the crowd that Notasulga is a much different place now than it was in the 1960s. Everyone is welcome at Notasulga because it is a place where unity is supreme. That principle of unity was built on the foundation that people like Mr. Wyatt constructed. It is important that students continue to live by it so that the legacy of Mr. Wyatt, and the legacies of the five other students who integrated Notasulga, will continue to live and encourage upcoming generations.