HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Sept. 9, 1963 four black students made history in Huntsville as the first students to integrate in the city. Wednesday, 56 years later, they met for the first time.
At the time, new headlines read “State Bars Negroes Elsewhere, Huntsville Quietly Integrates.”
The groundbreaking Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education passed nearly a decade before yet many schools had not integrated. The four students in Huntsville City Schools made history.
Sonnie Hereford, David Pierce, John Brewton and Veronica Pearson began school that fall at four different schools.
“There were all of these people standing around yelling and screaming," explained an emotional Pearson, "and I’m thinking 'uh-oh...I’ve gotten myself into something now.”
Pearson was the oldest at 13 years old. She was entering the eighth grade at Rison.
“The first day was frightening and it was unreal," said Pearson.
Since she was older, Pearson was made the decision to integrate and was able to grapple with the reality of it. The other students were not.
Hereford and Pierce were entering the first grade and described a different experience.
“Very few of those kids at six years old had been taught that they weren’t supposed to like me," explained Hereford.
The Rocket City Civil Rights group organized the introduction.
Brewton was not able to make the meeting.