02/11/09 — Museum exhibit shows county's path to equality

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Museum exhibit shows county's path to equality

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 11, 2009 1:46 PM

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Local history maker Glenwood Burden appeared in the Goldsboro High School yearbook in the 1960s, and he appears again now in a display that is part of the black history exhibit in the Wayne County Museum.

Wayne County Museum patrons have only a few more weeks to see the exhibit called "Black History: From Slavery to the Presidency."

The exhibit, compiled by the museum staff, Linda Wilkins-Daniels and the Rev. James E. Williams, opened on Jan. 13, and will run through Feb. 27.

Among the exhibit's pieces is a print by artist Chuck Wooten, who grew up in LaGrange. Most of his works revolve around family life and how families relied on each other for survival and the preservation of traditions and customs.

Many of the photographs show firsts in Wayne County, like Gertrude W. Graham, who became the first female officer at the Goldsboro Police Department in 1977, and a yearbook photo of Glenwood Burden, who became the first black student to attend Goldsboro High School in 1961.

She said that Burden has told her about the hundreds of people who came to see him register, and how the area between Herman Park Center and the high school was "a sea of people," much like "Moses was parting the Red Sea."

The first year, he told her, was total isolation as everybody was afraid to associate with him, and that the high school even received bomb threats.

But during Burden's second year at the school, she said, the drama teacher asked him to become involved in shows, and the friendships began, and by graduation, he had gained status "much like that of a rock star."

Other items in the exhibit include albums full of photos depicting life at Little Washington (near George Street) and Parkstown, and a storyboard showing photos taken during several Little Washington reunions.

The next exhibit will be "Military Patches and Uniforms." In April, the museum will host an emergency preparedness fair/food drive. And in the summer, the museum will feature an exhibit entitled "The Coming of the Railroad."

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and by special appointment for groups of 10 or more.