The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local History

November 28, 2011

The Phillips Family Beneficiaries of Bricks School

TARBORO — Last month’s column was devoted to The Joseph Keasbey Brick School and Junior College near Enfield. This column looks at the Phillips family that benefited greatly from the education they received from the instruction and cultural exposure from Bricks School.

Among various initiatives, the Brick School influenced regional economic development by encouraging land ownership and modern farm technology. John Richard Phillips and Evelyn Adams Phillips took advantage of this and purchased 46-plus acres about a half mile south of the school in order for their eight children to be educated and for him to earn income from farming. Before emancipation, John’s parents, Hilliard Phillips and Sallie Burgess Phillips, were slaves in the Whitakers section of Edgecombe County.

A part of John’s inspiration for educating his children came from his sister Sallie Phillips Smith who enrolled as one of the original students at Bricks and who graduated in 1900. Later she earned an Elementary Grade A Teaching Certificate, the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. She taught elementary school in Greenville, North Carolina, from 1901 until 1954 and served as a model for her nephews and nieces, prompting each of them to pursue an education.

John and Evelyn’s eight children were John Edward Phillips, Peter Lorenzo Phillips, Thaddeus Hilliard Phillips, Haywood Chester Phillips, Viola Pearl Phillips (Harrison), Flora Anna Phillips (Joyner), Evelyn Margaret Phillips (Norris), and Mary Juanita Phillips (Boddie).

John Edward attended the Brick elementary school and high school at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. During his second year at Howard University, Washington, D.C., he was drafted into the Army during World War I. As an adult, he co-owned and operated a tailor shop with his brother, Thaddeus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Peter Lorenzo taught school in Halifax and Nash Counties for three years following his graduation from Bricks in 1920. While in school he worked as barber. In New York City he became the manager of the YMCA barber shop, then owned and operated a barber shop in the Theresa Hotel. At that time, he was the only African-American barber on the New York State Board of Examiners for Barbers.

Thaddeus Hilliard graduated from Bricks in 1921 and attended the Army National Training School in Durham, North Carolina. After moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he played clarinet and saxophone, worked as a War Service Indefinite Distributing Clerk, and, with his brother John, owned and operated a tailor shop. On returning to Edgecombe County, he served as the Bricks Post Office Postmaster and was a member of the Edgecombe County Planning Board.

Haywood Chester graduated from Bricks high school in 1918 and served briefly in the U.S. Army. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, he became a licensed Real Estate Broker in Chicago. He later earned both L.L.B. and Juris Doctor degrees from John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the Illinois Bar. He was a charter member of the Dearborn Real Estate Board of Cook County, Illinois, and of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. He was a member of the Cook County Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the N.A.A.C.P. For many years he maintained both his real estate office and law practice.

Viola Pearl, after graduating from Bricks in 1920, taught public school in Halifax, Nash, and Edgecombe counties until 1929 when she was appointed Bricks Post Office Postmaster. She also served as Superintendent of Sunday School at Bricks and General Manager of a Co-op Store. In 1945 she married Benjamin Harrison, moved to be with him in Brooklyn, New York, and became a full-time housewife.

Flora Anna was valedictorian of her Bricks high school class and went on to graduate from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in 1925 and an M.A. degree from Columbia University in 1947. She taught school in Sutton’s Academy, New Bern, North Carolina, Eastman High School, Halifax County, and the Greenville City Schools, Greenville, North Carolina. She was married to Clarence E. Joyner.

Evelyn Margaret graduated from Brick Junior college, and received her B. S. degree from Shaw University. She did further study at Shaw University, North Carolina College, Elizabeth City University, Ohio State University, and East Carolina University. She taught in the Greenville City Schools for 42 years. She was married to Frank Norris.

Mary Juanita, the youngest, graduated from Bricks in 1930, then received a A. B. degree from Shaw University and an M. A. degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She did further studies at Columbia, Tuskegee Institute, and East Carolina University. After teaching at Ransom School, Northampton County, Enfield Graded School, and the Brick Model School, she spent 28 years as general supervisor of Edgecombe Count Schools from 1948 to 1976. She was also a music teacher and served as organist for several area churches, including St. Luke’s Colored Protestant Episcopal church in Tarboro where she served for approximately 40 years. She was a founding member of the Rocky Mount-based Beta Zeta Sigma Chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority. Her husband was David Boddie.

The Phillips family achieved the Bricks’ mission of uplifting and training rural African Americans during a period of limited opportunities in segregated America. Each of John and Evelyn’s children fulfilled the promise of the American dream in one way or another.

C. Rudolph Knight is a Tarboro native, a retired community college educator, and a research historian. Look for his monthly reports on Edgecombe County’s African-American history on the Community page.

Sources include: Souvenir Journal: 25th Anniversary Reunion of J. K. Brick School and Junior College. August 1974.

1
Text Only
Local History
  • Tarboro police warn citizens of scam, break-ins

    Tarboro police are warning citizens to be alert about a scam targeting the elderly in town. They are also warning people about several break-ins that have occurred in the Speight Forest and Summerfield neighborhoods.

    September 18, 2013

  • Mayor Pro Tem Knight: Main goal is to unite town

    Taro Knight was resolute.
    “Uniting the (town) council in the three months I have left is my priority,” Tarboro’s mayor pro tem said Friday afternoon as he discussed the release of a report of more than 30 pages of expenditures generated by certified fraud examiner Ray Jackson.

    September 16, 2013

  • First day of school.jpg Farrelly feels ‘positive energy’ during ECPS first day of school

    Approximately 6,100 students began a new school year on 14 campusess in Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) Monday. The students were greeted by teachers, administrators, and freshly cleaned buildings.

    August 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • Three teens charged in pizza delivery robbery

    Three teenagers were charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon Thursday after the robbery of a Rocky Mount pizza delivery driver.
    Rocky Mount police were called to the 800 block of Lincoln Drive after the robbery had been reported around 1 a.m. When officers arrived, they found a 34-year old Domino's Pizza driver who had just been robbed of the pizza's he was delivering. The victim told police that the three suspects robbed him and then fled on foot from the scene. Officers were able to identify the three suspects and obtained warrants for their arrests.

    July 15, 2013

  • Farrelly_John.jpg ECPS cuts three more teaching positions

    The teachers’ lounges in Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) will be a little quieter in the upcoming school year.
    On Monday, the Edgecombe County Board of Education unanimously approved ECPS Superintendent John Farrelly’s recommended “Reduction-in-Force,” which cuts three more teaching positions.

    July 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • County passes $58 million budget by 5-2 vote

    Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners passed it's 2013-2014 budget by a 5-2 vote during a recessed meeting Thursday. Commissioners Billy Wooten and Donald Boswell voted against it.

    June 28, 2013

  • DSCN8130.jpg 70 arts and crafts vendors hallmark of the Happening on the Common

    Arts and crafts are a hallmark of the Happening on the Common and this year was no exception. Live arts and crafts projects for children and vendors selling their handcrafted wares both were part of Saturday’s happening.
    P.J. Shafer of Rocky Mount sold her pottery, which ranged from traditional mugs and bowls to mushroom shaped pottery suitable for decorating a yard and a piece of pottery with a face carved into it and horns protruding from the top, suitable for hanging on a wall.

    May 20, 2013 2 Photos

  • Jorge-Richter.jpg ECU Orchestra highlights end of concert season with free performance

    The last concert of this season’s Edgecombe Performance Series is a free, afternoon concert featuring the East Carolina University (ECU) Orchestra
    Dr. Jorge Richter will direct the symphony in the concert at 3 p.m. April 21 in the Keihin Auditorium on Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus. The audience will enjoy “Orchestral Favorites,” including Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances Nos. 5 & 6 and Peter I. Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64. The concert will also highlight the winner of the 2012-2013 ECU Concerto Competition.

    April 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • United-Manor-Courts.jpg United Manor Courts: An African American Community Self-Help Project

    This is the narrative of how four community churches came together in a self-help effort and enabled several dozens of low-income families to have safe and adequate housing in the early 1970s. A by-product of this project was home ownership by many of these families.
    Prior to the 1919 flood, the majority of African Americans lived in Princeville after it started in 1865. Many residents of Princeville were day workers, crossing the bridge into Tarboro each morning and returning to Princeville each evening, a convenient arrangement for all concerned. However, this pattern was interrupted by the 1919 flood when the high water prevented this back-and forth daily trek, disrupting the work force to which the white community had become accustomed.

    March 8, 2013 1 Photo

  • Edgecombe natives Charles Lavinghouse, Richard Cherry & Hamilton Pittman gave their lives for freedom

    Of the 36 Edgecombe County natives that enlisted in the 35th, 36th, and 37th US Colored Troops in New Bern, N.C., in 1863, orginally known as the African Brigade, twenty were members of the 36th USCT (see attached list). The African Brigade regiments were orginally named the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd N.C. Colored Volunteers, then later re-classified as the 35th, 36th and 37th U.S. Colored Troops.
    The 36th USCT (orginally the 2nd N.C. Colored Volunteers)  was one of six USCT regiments that made their mark at the Battle of New Market Heights, Va, in September 1864, outside of Richmond.

    March 8, 2013

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Must Read