Historical Essay 65

Posted on 23 December 2010 by LeslieM

How Christmas used to be celebrated

— at Pompano Beach Senior High School

With students from Pompano, Deerfield, Hillsboro, Lighthouse Point

In the fall of 1958, when I was elected president of the student body at Pompano Beach High School, there was a lot of stress going on in the schools of our country. Students in the schools of the South historically had been separated by race, including our school. Therefore, there were usually “white” schools and “black” schools in each town. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to be illegal, and demanded they be integrated, there was a lot of stress occurring within the schools. President Eisenhower even had to federalize the National Guard and send troops into Little Rock Arkansas’ largest high school in May of 1958 to force racial integration there.

Meanwhile, by September 1958, here in Florida, at Pompano Beach High School, the stress was palpable also. Part of the reason was that our school’s official name for its sport’s team was the Pompano Beach Bean Pickers because beans had been the most prominent crop in the area. However, since most people actually picking the beans were black, confusion reigned; especially among the newcomers from the North arriving. Many of them complained to me, and it became an issue during my election campaign for student body president. Consequently, I took a position that if elected, I would lead an effort to change our school’s name.

After my victory, I sat with our Principal Larry Walden, who agreed we could change the name, but it should be voted on properly. Since a tornado had recently struck the area, and blue and gold were our team colors, we came up with the idea of changing the name of the school team to The Pompano Beach Senior High School Golden Tornadoes, which it still is today.

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