North Carolina People, Places, and Things-February 27
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.
First off a shout out to John Rancke a friend who follows my Coach4aday blog and offered up the idea for today’s post.
My wife is from Scotland County, NC which is where Laurinburg Institute is located. My former life as a college basketball coach meant that Laurinburg Institute has a part of my past. If you coached college basketball you were familiar and probably visited or recruited players who attended the Institute.
The story for Laurinburg Institute begins in 1903 when Walter Evans, a successful Laurinburg merchant, contacted Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to discuss sending a teacher to Scotland County. Washington asked Emmanuel and Tinny McDuffie if they would be interested in starting a school. That’s how, in 1904, the McDuffies found themselves alongside local citizens, clearing the land by hand.
The early going was rough. For the first several years, payments-in- kind were accepted for education. In 1924, Laurinburg Institute was accredited by the state of North Carolina and for the next 30 years, it remained the only high school for black students. Emmanuel McDuffie died in 1954, but the school has remained in the McDuffie family.
Over time Laurinburg Institute became synonymous with talented basketball players. At the link below are listed all 114 players who went to high school in North Carolina and then went on to play in the NBA or ABA. No other school in NC has more players on the list than Laurinburg Institute.
In 2006 the NCAA began routinely reviewing prep schools for academic irregularities, including reviewing the transcripts of prep school student-athletes seeking to play at NCAA-member institutions. In Laurinburg’s case, the NCAA, after two on-site visits, raised concerns about the curriculum and quality control, among other issues. They placed the school on a list that essential meant that players attending there would not be eligible. That caused the suspension of Laurinburg Institute sponsoring sports.
Another alum of Laurinburg Institute was Dizzy Gillespie.
Dizzy Gillespie was one of the principal developers of bop in the early 1940s, and his styles of improvising and trumpet playing were imitated widely in the 1940s and 1950s. Indeed, he is one of the most influential players in the history of jazz.
Gillespie was the youngest of nine children. His father, a bricklayer and weekend bandleader, died when he was ten. Two years later, he began to teach himself to play trombone and trumpet and later took up cornet. His musical ability enabled him to attend Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina in 1932 because the school needed a trumpet player for its band. During his years there, he practiced the trumpet and piano intensively, still largely without formal guidance.
I found a great YouTube video clip of Dizzy performing in Havana, Cuba in 1985. If you love jazz then Laurinburg Institute decision to recruit a trumpet player was a great move for you.
Thanks John Rancke for the suggestion to write a post about Laurinburg Institute. liked learning something new about a place I had a history with.