’Bruised, but never broken’ woman recounts experience integrating North Charleston High School

’Bruised, but never broken’ woman recounts experience integrating North Charleston High School

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - During Black History Month, Live 5 News is highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans in the Lowcountry and across South Carolina.

Vertrilla Kathy Price Hunt was among the first African American students to attend North Charleston High School in the late 1960′s.

Over the weekend, she returned home to be honored for her sacrifice at Royal Missionary Baptist Church.

Despite the struggles and mistreatment, she’s grateful to have played a role, in paving the way for future generations to attend whatever school they like, no matter the color of their skin.

“I looked at my three years at North Charleston High, I was bruised, but never broken," Price Hunt said. "Every day we went in we were spit on, we had physical fights. They had other scare tactics.”

At 15-years-old, Price Hunt left an all black school in the Liberty Hill community, Bonds-Wilson High, where she was accepted.

At North Charleston High, she was called the N-word all the time.

“I started to think back, my forefathers from slavery and all that they endured. So I believed that I wasn’t going to be afraid. I was going to go through it," Price Hunt said.

She says they faced a life-threatening situation after a school dance.

“We crossed a railroad track and the tires came off of the car, because someone had loosened all of the lug nuts,” she said.

During a class presentation, she asked her classmates to look beyond her race.

“When I cut my skin the blood that bleeds out of my skin is the same color as yours. There’s no difference. There’s nothing different about me, I’m just darker skin," Price Hunt said. “It was such a moving presentation that I made that all I could hear was applause, applause. Then I looked over at Mrs. Harper.”

It left her teacher in tears.

"Because I think that I really made her see a difference," Price Hunt said.

Price Hunt says this was a turning point along her journey that continues today. Her experience propelled her to became an activist and to stand up for what is right.

“We didn’t mind being that sacrificial lamb,” she said.” Because I always look at it as what the enemy meant for your harm. God means for your good, so somebody had to go out and do it.”

Price Hunt graduated from North Charleston High School in 1969.

Last year, when she and another African American classmate attended their 50th class reunion, she says a white classmate apologized for how he treated them and asked for forgiveness.

They responded by saying, “You are forgiven, and now you need to ask for God to forgive you too.”

She says that moment healed her bruises.

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