Kelly Miller High School Choir

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This photograph was taken by R. Lewis Hill in the gymnasium of Kelly Miller High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia, sometime between 1942 and 1946.  According to Wikipedia, the school opened in 1903 and closed in 1958.  It was established for the education of African American students during the legislated practice of segregation.  The names of the choir members are listed on the photo as follows:  Margaret Beard, Joan Rae, Grace Saunders, Erleen Robinson, Mavena Demby, June Wise, and  Augustine Johnson.

My cousin Margaret Beard (1928-2005), pictured standing next to the flag was the daughter of Oril and Grace Beard.  She was born in Elkins, West Virginia.  She earned a degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia State University.  She married Herbert Watson in 1951.  She died in Oxford, Ohio in 2005.

Margaret, known to friends and family as “Peggy” taught second grade for 32 years.  Singing remained a significant part of her entire life.  She was an excellent singer.  When Dr. Martin Luther King visited Mansfield, Ohio, she was asked to perform a solo song for the occasion.  She also taught many children (myself included) to play the piano.

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