From Segreation to Integration:

1966-1969

tiger jagsm
jaguar

In an attempt to write the full history of Covington High School, an interview with Mrs. Elzy was staged at the new Covington High on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 in order to learn more about the segregated black high school that combined with Covington High School during the forced integration period in 1970.

Mrs. Elzy is from New Iberia, but she moved to Covington, Louisiana in order to teach English and French at the all black school. She first taught at Rosenwall, then at Pine View High School, and later at Covington High School.

Mrs. Elzy has attened many colleges including Xavier, Grambling, USL, and Southeastern. She majored in English and French, but said she always enjoyed the philosophical and psychological classes that were offered at the universities.

It is her belief that the teachers at Pine View and Rosenwall were not strict to overbearing, but they did demand a certain criteria. Her example was homework. A student had to complete his homework no matter what. If he had a broken arm, then he would use his other arm to do it. The homework had to be done by the student no matter what.

elzy

World events that took place in the 1960's included President Nixon being sworn in as the 37th President because of Lyndon B. Johnson's resignation. Also in this era, the Vietnam War and the My Lai Massacre occurred. As the Vietman war was in motion, President Nixon went to South Vietnam for an unscheduled meeting with President Nguyen Van Thieu. It was claimed that the South Vietnamese government was nothing more than an American Puppet. Without American support the Thieu government could not survive. The My Lai Massacre included the mass murders of approximately 347 to 504 Vietnamese citizens.

During the time of segregation before black and white students at Covington High were combined, they were segregated by two different schools. The whites attended Covington High while the blacks attended Rosenwall. The black campus was co-educational until the schoolboard in 19** decided to try segregation of the sexes; whereupon, the schoolboard opened Pine View High for the female students. Although female students attended the new school, males continued to go to Rosenwall. In 1965 the schoolboard determined segregation of the sexes was not the way to go, so the student body once again became co-ed, but this time at PineView High School.

jagbase

Rosenwall was open from 19** until 1965 as an all black High School in Covington. The school colors were blue and white, and the mascot was the "tiger?" At this school, the students had sports just like today such as softball (girls), baseball, basketball (girls and boys), and Football. Tennis and soccer did not have official teams, but some teachers took students outside at the end of the day to participate in these sports. The gym was packed when games or tournaments were played for the school. The childern behaved and were very well mannered when they watched the games.

Mrs. Elzy explained that some of the students of Rosenwall, who also went to Pine View and Covington High Schools went on to play sports for colleges. We know of one student, Isaiah Robinson, who graduated and went on to play professional football.

Besides sports, students could participate in clubs. There was FFA, Foreign Language, and others. Each was governed by Parlimentary Rule with a president, vice president, and treasurer. There were club field trips, and activity dances for each club as well.

At Rosenwall most students walked or rode buses to get to school and some of the teachers who had cars drove to school. In our interview with Mrs. Elzy we learned that she had a Bonneville that she drove three blocks to school from her house in order to teach her French and English classes. We also learned that in Mrs. Elzy's first year of teaching French, Mr. Owens, the principal of Pine View, decided to drop the French class the following semester because the students were making C's - F's. The next semester Mrs. Elzy made it easier for the students, so all the students' grades went up to A's - B's. Mr. Owens decided to keep the French class.

Then in 1966, the schoolboard opened up PineView High School as a co-ed facility. After a few years of the segregation of the sexes, the schoolboard had decided to once again combine the student body, but this time at the new black school.

PineView High School stayed opened from 1965 to 1969 until it merged with Covington High School in 1970. Like Rosenwall, it too had FFA, Foreign Language, and others which were also governed by Parlimentary Rule. The sports were also transfered over to the new school along with the teachers.

The school colors were changed to black and gold, and the school mascot was changed to the "Jaguar." The students felt a strong connection with this school, and it showed with their school pride.

court

Although the school was only opended for four years, the students took to the school and excelled. In its last year, the school had a marching band, sports teams, clubs, and dances. The students had a Sweetheart and a Court, a Prom King and Queen, and class favorites. The school's prom king and queen were high fashioned at the dance, and were always well groomed. The prom was held in the gym, and the parents watched their children dance and have fun. The students did not know that this would be their last year at Pine View because the federal government had plans to end segregation in the South. The plan was to close the all black high school and send the 300 students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades to Covington High School. To many in the Covington area the closing of Pine View High was a tramatic experience. Many of the teachers at Pine View did go to Covington High with their students and many chose to go elsewhere. It is remembered that the black students did not want to leave their new school building to go to one that was at least 50 years old. The traditions at Pine View came to an abrupt end. The students had to make their way into a new school and a new life at Covington High.

Mr. J. Franklin Owens was the principal in the last year for this school. In a letter he wrote to his students that year, in the yearbook, he wished the graduates well and stated he had high hopes for the students that would return the following year. He did not know that this yearbook would be the first and last edition ever made for Pine View High School in 1969.

Mr. Owens was a great principal and was there from 1966-1969. Discipline in the classroom was not spared. There were numerous amounts of punishments. The punishments were suspension and paddling. The paddler, took students to the office, and many stayed after school and wrote lines on the board. The current technology used at the school was electric typewriters. Computers were to come much later.

John Franklin Owens

  • Graduated Oberlin High School, Oberlin, Ohio
  • Bachelor Degree Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Masters Degree + 30 Southern University - 1950
  • Math teacher Rosenwall
  • Principal Pineview High School 1966-1969
  • Continued on as Principal Pineview Middle School
  • Retired 1987

    Click here to see his biography

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There was a graduating class of 59 students and a total of 302 students in grades 9th through 12th with 28 faculty members. The twenty-eight faculty members included cooks and custodians as well as teachers and administration.


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