WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The face, the name, the story, and this story is the one of Booker T. Washington School.
“The Museum of North Texas History asked me to help them write a book on Booker T Washington and the east side community which set me on fire, and I think the idea of doing it has set a lot of people on fire. They remember, they have pictures,” Booker T Washington Alumna Brenda Jarrett said.
Jarrett, a proud Booker T. Washington graduate of 1966, says when she thought of all the memories made inside of the Booker T hallways, she knew it was time to create the book.
“We loved being from eastside, we loved being a Booker T Washington Leopard. It was the way they treated us that made us feel equal,” Jarrett said.
The school was established in 1922 and was an all black high school, graduating hundreds of notable alumni like Arthur Bea Williams, and even winning a football state championship title in 1965.
In 1969 the school would be closed as a result of desegregation, leaving the students to integrate into the other neighborhood schools. A turning point in Booker T’s history.
“It was hard for the kids that had to go to different schools. It was hard for them and we would hear stories about what had taken place and it was a challenge for them,” Jarrett said.
A challenge, but it never stopped any of these former Leopards from sharing the pride about the very school that made them who they are.
“Going to the football games, playing tennis, and just being a part of it, even climbing the fence to get a chili dog was historical to us and was so much fun,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett also says knowing that the new Legacy High School’s mascot will be the Leopards, is a good feeling.
“When I heard about the Leopards, I called James number 84 and said, ‘did you hear?’ He said, ‘that’s one way it will be remembered,'” Jarrett said.
And now Jarrett wants to hear your stories and memories of Booker T. Stories of students, teachers, athletes, that will make this book complete.
“It was going beyond the call of education. They taught us more than reading writing and arithmetic. It’s how to enter a room, how do you deal with what’s happening outside, these teachers will always be honored,” Jarrett said.
And a legacy that will never be forgotten
The deadline to tell Jarrett your story is Juneteenth on June 19th. You can contact Brenda by calling the Martin Luther King Center at (940)-761-7980.