Closing of the School

North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford Speaks to Lincoln Heights Assembly, 1962.

North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford Speaks to Lincoln Heights Assembly in 1962.

Lincoln Heights Class 1965-1968

The final Lincoln Heights High School graduating class, 1967.

With the end of segregation following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Lincoln Heights closed its doors in 1968.1 Yet, as Ms. Barber said, Lincoln Heights was central to the daily life of a community. According to Elizabeth Grinton, who is known as the matriarch of Lincoln Heights, the community was afraid it was going to lose itself.2 There were few public places owned by the African American community. Lincoln Heights had been its anchor. Thus, the feelings of the students were mixed as is expressed in the following poem by James Weldon Johnson:


Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod


Felt in the days when hope unborn had died


Yet with a steady-beat, have not our weary feet, come to the place which our heroes died?


We have come, over the way that the teardrops have watered. We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.  Out of the gloomy past, 'til now we stand at last, where the bright gleam of our bright star is cast.3



[1] Brenda Adams Dobbins, interview by Philosophy of Historic Preservation Class, North Wilkesboro, NC, September 11, 2015.

[2] Jim Sparks. “True to Life; Wilkes Woman Tries to Instill in Others Desire to Do Their Best: City edition. Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC) (December 27, 1997):B1.

[3] Wilkes County Retired School Personnel, Lest We Forget: Education in Wilkes, 1778-1978 (Winston-Salem, NC: Hunter Publishing Company, 1979).