Integration of Matoaka High School

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 1, 1957

Two Area Schools Stage Integration Protests

Two more student protest demonstrations against racial integration occurred in the area yesterday.

At Matoaka, scene of large scale demonstrations last year, school authorities reported that between 100 and 150 white students refused to return to class after the noon hour recess. About 56 white students paraded at the Hemphill-Capel Junior High School in McDowell County.

Principal Ralph Bird of the Matoaka school said that approximately 75 students stayed out at noon time and that the others walked out after classes started.

The students gathered across the street from the school until they were dispersed by a state trooper from the Princeton barracks and a constable. Bird said that the police were sent to the scene by the Mercer County school superintendent's office.

Two windows in the school were broken by thrown articles.

Bird also said that parents of two children removed them from the school while parents of three other children returned them to classes later in the afternoon.

There are ten Negro students in the school at Matoaka that has a total enrollment of 670.

An incident that occurred Friday on a school bus between a Negro student and white student was said to have had no bearing on the demonstration yesterday.

Bird said the demonstration was probably just "a show off" by the students and he expects no furthur [sic] actions.

It could not be determined last night just what kind of punishment would be meted out to the demonstrators.

At the Hemphill-Capels school the demonstrators blocked traffic until a McDowell County deputy sheriff arrived.

McDowell County School Supt. George W. Bryson said a majority of the protesting students had gone back to class by 10:30 a.m. He said a few went home.

There are four Negro youngsters in the Hemphill-Capel school.


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