There’s a room in Hobson City’s Town Hall that used to be a part of a school. Every two years, Jacqueline Brown and other alumni of Calhoun County Training School return that room, and in doing so come home, according to Brown.
“It gives us a chance to look around and walk the halls that we walked while we were there,” said Brown, who graduated in 1958. “It's just a family affair. It's something that binds us together. We always say it's gone, but never forgotten.”
Before desegregation, Calhoun County Training School in Hobson City was the county’s school for many of the area’s African-American students. The school was closed in 1972 as area schools integrated, but every two years, alumni of the training school host a school reunion. This year, for the 17th reunion, it’s the class of 1965’s turn to host.
The reunion will include a breakfast banquet on Thursday at 8 a.m. at the Anniston City Meeting Center and a parade through downtown Hobson City on Saturday at 11 a.m. After the parade there will be a picnic at Hobson City Park at 1 p.m.
“If you could see the tears and the laughter and the hugs and the kisses,” said Katie Pyles, who graduated from the school in 1958. “It just makes chill bumps come over me when I talk about it. ... Some of the same people are coming back every two years ... everybody wants to come back and it's just a joy to see your classmates and your friends.”
During the banquet the vice president of the class of 1965, Richard Reed, will be the featured speaker.
“I'm excited about meeting some classmates that I have not seen in years,” Reed said. “It brings people back to the area that they grew up in ... You know people have changed a lot and it just brings back memories.”
Pyles said the reunions every other year serve to keep the local history of the school alive.
“It's just very important that we keep our history going so people will know how we came to be and how we intend to stay strong,” she said. “It is very important that all of our children know where their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents came from and know how important it is to attend school.”