Blackshear's 27th Reunion

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Instead of family ties, it was school ties that had people gathering in Hearne on Saturday.

This Thanksgiving marked the 27th year that members of the Blackshear Alumni Association and their descendants reunited.

Members from a number of different graduating classes of Blackshear High School, and some of those graduates' family members traveled to Hearne to take part in the reunion.

Hamner Johnson, class of 1963, is one of the original founders of the association. He says the reunions offer the alumni members a way to keep their ties strong and intact.

"You get to see people that you haven't seen in years and this is the tool that we use for that communication," Johnson said.

Johnson says the reunions hold another purpose: to keep the tradition of the old school name going.

Near the beginning of the 20th century, Blackshear was the school that educated black children in Hearne.

The school started out as one schoolhouse. As time passed other buildings were eventually added and it later became a high school.

It was there at the high school that members were educated and filled with pride for themselves and their community.

Willie Golden, one of this year's reunion chairpersons, says those things need to be passed on so the next generation can build on the work they've already done.

"If the Lord bless us this will continue through eternity because our children would love to see this go on," Golden prayed.

The Blackshear Alumni Association wants to make sure the next generation are educated too and have the same sense of pride. That is the reason why the association created a scholarship fund.

Alumni members not only want to make sure Hearne students know about the alumni, they want the community to know about them as well.
Blackshear school was renamed Northside school several years ago.

Pride for their school's name caused the alumni association to petition the Hearne school district to restore the name to Blackshear. Even though the building is now an elementary school, the name Blackshear remains.

In addition, the association was able to also successfully petition the city to have the street that the Blackshear Elementary School is located on renamed to Blackshear Avenue.

The alumni members are about 600 strong and they all share the same thought as Hamner Johnson.

"We started here, we got our roots here and we just felt like it was in the best interest of the community to give back", Johnson said.