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Black education exhibit reflects memories of a bygone era
by Bill Baldowski
February 11, 2014 03:26 PM | 1108 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha Shal
Catherine Hindsman, a volunteer at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art, points out class pictures from R.L. Cousins High School to Hattie Burton as Burton looks at the Douglas County Black History Exhibit which is on display at the museum through February.
Staff / Samantha Shal Catherine Hindsman, a volunteer at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art, points out class pictures from R.L. Cousins High School to Hattie Burton as Burton looks at the Douglas County Black History Exhibit which is on display at the museum through February.
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With February being Black History Month, the Douglas County Museum of History and Art is hosting an exhibit surrounding black education in the county prior to integration in 1968.

The exhibit, which museum volunteers view as the finest collection of black history education memorabilia in Douglas County, is on display through this month at the museum, 6754 Broad St. in Douglasville. According to museum volunteer Elaine Steere, the exhibit includes education-related items from the county’s first black high school, Hutcheson, which opened in 1932, as well as the county’s second all-black high school, R.L. Cousins, which opened in 1958.

Elaine Steere, a museum volunteer, said the exhibit, which focuses on black high schools only, includes numerous yearbooks from the two schools in addition to photos and other historical memorabilia.

Steere said the exhibit also includes a photo and information on the first black student from Douglas County ever to go to college, Essie Bostic, who was born in 1889.

“Another interesting part of the exhibit is a photo of R.L. Cousins, for whom the second black high school in the county was named,” Steere said. Cousins was the first black from Douglas County to receive a doctorate and was later the “state director of black education” from 1937 to 1967, Steere said.

“He was a leader in the effort to equalize education opportunities available to all citizens,” Steere said.

Cousins was an inspiration to black students, Steere said, as he led the way for black students to make the most of their educational opportunities.

Also included in the exhibit is a paddle that teachers were allowed to use on unruly students at the time, as well as an old school bell from Hutcheson High and state basketball championship memorabilia from R.L. Cousins, which won back-to-back Class B state championships during its existence.

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