Clarksburg, WV

Graduation Class of 1900
(Retrieved and transcribed from the May 11 and May 25, 1900,
editions of The Clarksburg Telegram by Nanci Headley Kotowski)

Bessie W. Martin – second honor student
Fannie Mae Bowyer – first honor student
Robert Beckwith – third honor student

Grace D. Grayson
Mamie F. Johnson
Estella M. Cambric

    [source: The Clarksburg Telegram, May 11, 1900]

The commencement of the high school department of the colored schools of the city will be held in Central school hall on the evening of May 21.
There will be a class of six as follows: F. Mae Bowyer, Bessie W. Martin, Robert Beckwith, Grace D. Grayson, Mamie Johnson and Estella M. Cambric. 

Mae Bowyer is first honor student, followed closely by Miss Martin and Mr. Beckwith, as second and third honor pupils respectively.

Rev. W. F. Tyree, of the Southern Methodist church, will deliver the Baccalaureate sermon on the evening of the 20th.

After the commencement exercises the Aneta [sic] No. 19 K. of P. will banquet the class.

There will not be the closing exercises of the different rooms publicly as there has been heretofore.  Mr. Sedwick, however, will give an exhibition in Water street church on Wednesday evening, the 16th of May.  The Proceeds will be devoted to the increase of the school library.

The enrollment in the colored schools has been the greatest in its history and promises to be even greater in the next scholastic year.


There were six Graduates, and They all Acquitted Themselves Well.
      [source: The Clarksburg Telegram, May 25, 1900]

The commencement exercises of the Clarksburg Colored School took place at the Central School Hall, Monday evening, May 21, at 8 o’clock.  There were six graduates, namely, Misses Grace D. Grayson, Mamie F. Johnson, Estella M. Cambric, Bessie W. Martin, Fannie M. Bowyer and Mr. Robert Beckwith.  The young ladies read essays as follows:
 “The White Man’s Burden,” Grace D. Grayson; “Macbeth, a Study,” Mamie F. Johnson; “The Boer War,” Estella M. Cambric; “Conservation of Energy,” Bessie W. Martin; “Trades [sic] Unions,” Fannie M. Bowyer, and Robert Beckwith gave an oration of “The Policy of Expansion.”  It will be noticed that these are rather heavy and deep subjects, but they handled their productions with great credit and mastered the leading themes of the day in an admirable and superior manner.

The programme [sic] was quite lengthy, elaborate and good, including marches and choruses, invocation and benediction by Rev. Robert Steele, an address by Mr. J. E. Law and the presentation of diplomas, by Superintendent Burdette, besides the essays and oration already mentioned.

Mr. Law’s theme was “The Advancement of the Race,” which he handled in an able manner.  His address was short, but to the point and worthy because of the profundity of thought and chastity of words.  He spoke of the opportunities of the colored race as compared with the whites, in which he showed that the colored people were constantly advancing and had made wonderful progress in the last thirty years.  He pointed out some notable examples such as Bruce, the famous colored congressman, and Booker, the great colored educator.  Mr. Law emphasized honesty and industry among the colored people, and gave wholesome advice along other lines.  His address was well received and he was given gratifying applause.

The graduates acquitted themselves with commendatory credit and demonstrated themselves to be student of more than usual intellectuality, scholars, indeed, of whom our citizens are justly proud.

After the exercises closed, the Knights of Pythias, colored, banqueted the graduates and friends at the Reed Hall, as has been the custom of Anita Lodge several years.  The banquetters [sic] had a glorious time.  They indulged themselves in dancing, and had a cake walk, and partook of refreshments fit for a king.

The commencement and banquet both may well be deemed really brilliant.