Thursday, October 15, 2009

Easy Ed High School

I'm not sure exactly why we called him that; it certainly wasn't because his history class was easy. It wasn't. I think it was because of his informal, relaxed, and often humorous way of teaching that made it seem easy. I think of him as the "Perry Como" of our teachers at Central.

Joan King Hargett (class of 55) is spearheading an effort by her class to name Charlotte's newest high school after Ed Sanders! Now that's a great idea if I ever heard one.

Joan says it will help immensely if we all write to the school board members and show our support and appreciation for Ed Sanders.

She lists many of his major accomplishments which are enormous, but too many to name in a letter to a school board just mention a couple that you think are the best ones.

Ed Sanders:

He served in the Army Air Corps for four year during World War II. After military duty, he became a history teacher at Central High School, Charlotte, NC.

From 1946 - 1951 he taught high school during the day, veteran classes in the evening, carried a paper route and worked to obtain his masters degree.

1951 - Ed became the athletic director at CHS. Two years later he was promoted to Assistant Principal. In 1955 he was promoted to Principal at age 33.

1954 - Brown v. Board of Education ruled segregatiion in schools to be unconstitutional.

1955 - Mr. Sanders oversaw the merger of rival high schools Tech High and Central High, successfully bringing the two together as one student body.

1957 - Three years after Brown v. Board of Education ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Mr. Sanders became a "hero during racial unrest of the 1950's" as he successfully and peacefully enrolled Charlotte's first black student, Gus Roberts, at CHS. He walked through an "arm-linked human barricade" at CHS to protect Gus Roberts and to physically show students that he meant to make it work. Gus went on to graduate from CHS. In preparation for that day, Mr. Sanders had met with the Roberts family during the summer. He also called in the trouble makers at CHS and made sure they knew he would not tolerate unfair treatment. He spoke to the football team and asked their support letting them know that football games could easily be called off----for the season----if necessary.

1959 - Mr. Sanders became Principal at the new Garinger High School after CHS closed.

1965 - Charlotte still had 88 single-race schools. After the landmark case Swann vs. the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education ruled that Charlotte was still largely segregated, the school board was given a deadline by Federal Judge James B. McMillan to effectively desegregate by Fall of 1970.

1970 - Ed was promoted to Associate Superintendent of the Charlotte School System. His assignment was to work with a Citizens Advisory Group and the school board to achieve a fair and stable pupil reassignment plan to fully integrate the school system. In 1974, the pupil reassignment plan, which revolved around race-baced busing of 83,000 students across 102 schools, was adopted and put into motion.

1978 - Mr. Sanders resigned from his post as East Mecklenburg Area Superintendent to become Superintendent of the Darlington, SC school system.

Mr. Sanders currently resides in the Alzheimer's Unit at Southminister's Retirement Community here in Charlotte.

Joan goes on to write,

The CHS class of 1955 meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Jimmie's Restaurant in Mint Hill. Mr. Sanders is at most of our luncheons. He has a lovely caregiver that brings him or sometimes our classmate, Don Blackmon, sees that he gets there. We have all fallen in love with Mr. Sanders and have so much respect for him.

CHS'55 classmate, David McKinnon, has been in contact with Mr. Sanders' son, Doug. They are the ones that are responsible for the above information. David McKinnon has been our leader in this effort to get a school named after our deserving former Principal, Ed Sanders. Bob Burroughs and others have also been involved.

Mr. Sanders has received many honors. You can Google "Ed Sanders Charlotte Education" and get more facts.

I realize this is a great deal of information and it is mostly just to bring you up to date on Mr. Sanders' life. It does not necessary need to be included in your email to the school board. If you have a personal memory of Mr. Sanders, that would be great to include. I feel that the emails should not be too long---probably a brief email might be better.

Please note: David McKinnon would appreciate it if you send him a copy of the email you send so that we can keep a count on the number sent. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to email him at or call him at 704-684-5003.

Your email should be sent to the following school board members as soon as possible. We will most likely be asking you to send another email to the same people at a later date.

Molly Griffin, Chairperson   
Kaye Bernard McGarry,Vice Chairperson
Larry Gauvreau
Kimberly Mitchell-Walker
James L. Ross II
Tom Tate
Ken Gjertsen
Trent Merchant
"Coach" Joe I. White, Jr.
Dr. Peter Gorman, Superintendent

Again, thanks so much.

Joan King Hargett