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A historical land-marker unveiled in Rayville

Commemorating the students and staff of Rayville Colored High School
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A new historical land-marker was unveiled today in Rayville. It’s to commemorate the students who attended Rayville Colored High School. The marker was placed outside of Rosenwald Eula D. Britton High School, which is the name of the school now. We spoke with Dr. Robert Smith Sr. who was one of the first graduates of the school back in 1939.

“The first class and the first high school in Rayville, but I’m excited about it because it’s a statue that indicates leadership, a certain amount of togetherness, and unity that’s what it means to me,” said Dr. Robert Henderson-Smith Sr. the Rayville Colored High School Graduate of 1939.

Dr. Smith is 101 years young, he’s the last living person who graduated from this school when it was called Rayville Colored High School. His name is on this historical land-marker and he will forever be a part of Rayville’s history.

“To come back and see how much we have changed in the last 75 years is indeed an awakening situation. It’s an unusual kind of excitement because when I graduated from here there were 11 of us, and all of them are gone except me,” he said.

During the unveiling of the landmark, there was an inspirational message from former students. An award was given to the family of Christine Haynes, class of 1950 and she was the first Black Female Professor at LSU. One former student says, he hopes this gives the Richland Parish community a sense of pride.

“The main thing I want the folks, especially in Rayville is to take away a bit of pride. This is something to be proud of and many of them don’t know it. I hope some folks will visit this gym for the first time so much history is here and ancestry is here and some of our kids have no clue,” said Quincy Mason, a Eual D. Britton High School Class Graduate of 1960.

Mason says there are more than 350 bricks on the land-marker with former staff and students’ names on them and each person played a special part at the former school.

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