En light of celebrating contributions of African-Americans throughout the month of February, Wheeling Park High School is honoring an Ohio Valley woman this Black History Month.
Anne Thomas spoke to students Wednesday, asking them to open their eyes to see. Thomas was one of the first African-Americans to graduated from Wheeling High School, and the first ever to graduate from the OVMC Nursing School.
She explained in our recent history, the same opportunities weren’t always afforded to all people, but coming on the heels of Brown v. Board of Education, African-Americans all over were able to start attending schools they weren’t previously allowed.
“By fifth grade, I knew there was a difference, but I lived in a Black community, because of Jim Crow, not knowing that’s why I was there,” Thomas said. “I was with people who knew me, who loved me.”
William Burrus, a Wheeling man who also faced Jim Crow Laws all through school, also spoke and told students he eventually became the president of the U.S. Postal Workers Union.
“I’ve really had this very successful life, rubbing shoulders with presidents, and Kings and Queens; so it’s been a dream ride,” he said. “If someone would have told me, when I graduated from Lincoln High School; in 1954, that I would have had those opportunities throughout my life, I wouldn’t have believed them.”