Mr. Stevens Shares Significance of the Forward Together Sculpture

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    Superintendent Jeff Stevens reflects on our district's theme this year - “I Belong in 7” - as being rooted in the same spirit as the MLK holiday, of being inclusive of all people. He speaks in this video to why it was chosen, noting "the single greatest strength of this school district is the sense of belonging, of being family, that enables us to make a difference in the lives of our students and families. 'I Belong' reminds us that there is a place for every individual, every talent, every ability, every dream, every background, every perspective in District 7." 
     
    Mr. Stevens also shares the significance of the Forward Together sculpture that is at the entrance of the D7 Fine Arts Center and how it was created for the entire Spartanburg community. Commissioned by District 7 and gifted by the family of Don Bain, who chaired our Board of Trustees during the integration of Carver High School and the former Evans High School to create Spartanburg High School as we know it today, the Forward Together sculpture provides a unique opportunity to lift up District 7’s history so it is not forgotten. It honors the struggles and successes that have shaped this community, and it summons new generations to find their place in our circle of humanity.

SCULPTURE COMMEMORATES D7'S COMMITMENT TO RACIAL UNITY

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    New sculpture commemorates Spartanburg High's integration, dedication to racial unity

    By Samantha Swann, Spartanburg Herald-Journal
    Photo credits: Tim Kimzey, Alex Hicks, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

    A new sculpture on the campus of Spartanburg High School aims to spark a conversation about racial equity and unity during the 50th anniversary of the high school's integration.

    The statue was one of the final projects by Russell Booker, the former superintendent of Spartanburg District 7 who has become the new executive director of the Spartanburg Academic Movement.

    Booker was initially inspired by a sculpture in downtown Greenville honoring Sterling High School. The statue by Maria Kirby-Smith celebrates Sterling High School, the first public African American high school in Greenville County that remained open until 1970 when the school integrated with Greenville High School. 

    Booker wanted the statue at Spartanburg High School to help celebrate the memory of Carver High School, the former high school for Black students. He contacted Kirby-Smith to create a statue dedicated to the integration of Carver and Spartanburg high schools.

    "It dawned on me, as I was looking at those statues, that when I think about our community, it was rare that I would ever see any statues of African Americans," Booker said. "So I started dreaming, wouldn't it be nice to do something similar to capture Carver's history,"

    The work depicts four students, cast in bronze, sitting in a circle of four benches outside the Spartanburg School District 7 Fine Arts Center at the high school.

    Spartanburg District 7 commissioned and installed a new sculpture to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the integration of Spartanburg High School. The sculpture stands in front of the District 7 Fine Arts Center, on the high school campus in Spartanburg, Friday, August 21, 2020. 

    The figures bring together four distinct points in the school's history. One figure, a white boy, represents the opening of Evans High School in the early 1920s, which was renamed Spartanburg High School in the 1930s. A Black boy from the 1930s represents the opening of Carver High School. A Black girl in a demure dress represents Wynona Douglas, the first African American student to attend Spartanburg High School in 1964. The fourth statue is of a white girl in a 1970s button-up mini skirt and knee-high boots representing the four Spartanburg High students who earned yearbook superlatives for their efforts to bring about racial reconciliation after the students at Carver moved to Spartanburg High in 1970.

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    Though the figures represent different periods of time, they appear to be in conversation with each other.

    Spartanburg District 7 commissioned and installed a new sculpture to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the integration of Spartanburg High School. The sculpture stands in front of the District 7 Fine Arts Center, on the high school campus in Spartanburg, Friday, August 21, 2020.

    The sculpture is highly detailed and contains a number of discreet clues related to the periods the figures are depicting.

    "The yearbook mirrors the Saga yearbook from the size of it to the cover, that mirrors The Scribbler. On the back of (the boys') sweaters, you'll find the mascots," Booker said.

    Additional details include the copy of "Why We Can't Wait" by Martin Luther King, Jr. under one student's hand and a small flower in the hand of another.

     

    New sculpture commemorates Spartanburg High's integration, dedication to racial unity

    Superintendent of Spartanburg School District Seven Jeff Stevens, Spartanburg High School Principal Vance Jones, and Executive Director elect of the Spartanburg Academic Movement Dr. Russell W. Booker, stand with sculptures to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school's integration.