Myrtle Beach High School celebrates 50 years of integration

Fifty years ago, four black teenagers walked into Myrtle Beach High School and made history.

Among jeers and snide remarks from white classmates, three girls and one boy marched to their classes in 1965 as the first black students to desegregate an area school. Prior to 1965, black and white students in Myrtle Beach attended separate schools.

On Thursday morning Iris Jones Vereen, Prince Bowens and Martha Canty Gore celebrated 50 years of integration during a schoolwide ceremony. Ronetta Spivey Bowens, the fourth member of Myrtle Beach’s first black class, died several years ago. The four alumni were honored by Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and several members of the Myrtle Beach City Council.

“Few among us can be pioneers,” said Principal John Washburn. “Though it sounds simple to be the first, pioneering is more difficult. Heroes face challenges most others are unwilling to accept.”