February 28, 2012
1:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Week 3 Day 3
Caldwell High School Yearbooks
Previously, research of newspaper clippings revealed that Caldwell High School began in the 1970-1971 school year, in Columbus, Mississippi. The Robert S. Caldwell school had been an all-white junior high school since 1963, and changed to an integrated high school after court ordered desegregation in 1970. At this time there was currently an all-white high school in Columbus, which had been in existence since 1918, called the Stephen D. Lee High School. Articles indicated that Caldwell became the Columbus West Campus high school, with grades 11 and 12 and the Stephen D. Lee became the integrated Columbus East Campus High School, with grades 9 and 10.
A search of Caldwell High School yearbooks in the collection of the Billups-Garth Archives, in the Local History department of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, told a slightly different story than the newspaper articles.
| "Brothers are we all|
—the black and white—
“Yesterday we said it wouldn’t happen.
Today it’s here.
Brothers are we all—the black and white—together.
We strive for the future, our future, a better future.
Here we are, facing each other, opposing each other, working with each other.
The future…What does it hold?” (1971 Excalibur, p. 4)
The Homecoming festivities showed an all-white homecoming court, which was described as the first homecoming court for the new Caldwell High School, held on October 30. In fact, it was a double homecoming for both Caldwell and Stephen D. Lee High Schools. This year, the two schools combined football players and the “Generals” defeated the Tuscaloosa Black Bears 20 to 7. The 1970 football season had ended with a winning record of 9 and 0 (p. 25).
The examination of the remainder of the 1971 Excalibur Yearbook for the Caldwell High School specified that the mascots of the Caldwell basketball and baseball teams were the "Bobcats". The previous paragraph noted that the combined football team was called the “Generals”, which was the Stephen D. Lee High School mascot.
The 1972 Robert S. Caldwell High School yearbook (Volume II), noted that this was “Caldwell’s first Homecoming”, on October 22, 1971. The 1970 football season was featured in the 1971 Caldwell yearbook and the 1971 football season was in the 1972 yearbook. Although Caldwell’s first “combined” homecoming was in 1970, the next year was also considered a first homecoming, because it was not combined with Lee High School.
|Eugene Bailey is on the left|
|1978 Excalibur yearbook|
inside front and back cover
The Caldwell High School newspaper staff had an unusual group photo in the 1979 yearbook. It was a “Bonnie and Clyde” styled two-page photograph, with costumes, an old car, and guns (p. 120). Each yearbook featured some unique themes of photography for the staff of the newspaper, which was known as the Kaleidoscope.
|1979 Caldwell H.S. newspaper staff|
There were twenty-one years that Robert S. Caldwell High School existed. The Billups-Garth Archives have all of their yearbooks from 1971 through 1992, with the exception of four years. The missing four years of Caldwell High School yearbooks are 1984, 1985, 1990, and 1991.
The 1992 Caldwell yearbook was the last yearbook of Caldwell High School, in Columbus Mississippi. Some additional notes were: their school colors were red and white, they were referred to as “Big Red” and “Topcats”. All of the other Caldwell High School yearbooks were prominently named Excalibur, but the last one was titled, “The Final Chapter.1992”. Excalibur was featured below that.
Researching the Archives’ collection of Caldwell High School yearbooks was a continuation in seeking information to complete the “Historical Note” section of the inventory for the Caldwell High School Slides. Previous information from newspaper articles was contradictory and confusing. The yearbooks were an excellent source for more specific and credible information about the history of the school. The next area of research will be the yearbooks for the Stephen D. Lee High School, which should verify the findings from the Caldwell High School yearbooks.