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First blacks to desegregate Charleston school invited back to de - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

First blacks to desegregate Charleston school invited back to dedicate new building

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Barbara Morrison and Oveta Glover enjoyed a much different experience today.

In 1963, the two were among the first black students to desegregate James Simons Elementary School on King Street, one of four in the city of Charleston to integrate in that year.

Said Glover of the experience, it was like "going into a lion's den and you're a kitty cat."

Wednesday, the two enjoyed a hero's welcome, as both were chosen to cut the school's ribbon of dedication.  James Simons opened a new building back in January, the result of years of planning to meet the city's seismic code.

"Thinking back to 50 years ago, I was really scared," Morrison added.  "Walking into today, it was like, I was on the other side. I've conquered this."

School principal Quenetta White enjoyed of a moment of pride, as the former students walked through the halls, only to see a diverse mixture of students attending the Downtown school.

"This day is a great day for James Simons Elementary," she added.

James Simons opened in 1919, and is among the first elementary schools built in the city of Charleston.

The Charleston Historical Preservation Society named the school one if its "Seven to Save," because of its importance in the Civil Rights era.

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