02/09/04 — Centenarian educator dies

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Centenarian educator dies

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on February 9, 2004 2:02 PM

James H. Carney Sr., who died at the age of 101 on Thursday at his home in Goldsboro, had dedicated his life to education, and in 1972, he became the first black person elected to the Wayne County Board of Education.

James H. Carney Sr.

He became vice chairman two years later and chairman in 1975.

His career in education began early. After graduating from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1926, he began his teaching career at Albian Academy, a private Presbyterian school for blacks in Franklinton, N.C.

He came to Wayne County in 1928 as a teacher and principal at Dillard High School in Goldsboro. His career was interrupted by the Great Depression.

He later decided to become an agent for the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Rocky Mount, but said that profession was not his calling in life.

After returning to the county in 1936, he became principal of Vail School near Pikeville, which only had four teachers. Carney, not having a car, rode a mule and wagon to Pikeville.

Carney recalled attending a PTA meeting to help raise money for a used bus for the black students. The bus was called "Old Reliable" and drove miles over dirt roads throughout the area.

He retired in 1969 as principal of Norwayne School. He had been married for over 56 years to his wife, Minnie. They have two children. He also had three grandchildren, four great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.

A reception was held at Bogart's in Goldsboro in November 2002 to celebrated his 100th birthday. He spent the day reminiscing with all the people whose lives he touched.