Web site signals new effort to preserve Alexander legacy

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 30, 2007

A new effort to preserve the legacy of Alexander High School istaking a new path with Wednesday’s scheduled launch of a Web siteon the Internet.

A committee of alumni hope to preserve the history of the schoolbeyond its aging former students. Alumni cited the school’sillustrious role during the years of segregation and the momentousintegration of school districts.

“In 20 to 40 years, there will probably be no living memory ofthe school,” said committee president Otis Williams. “The Web siteis a good way for us to preserve that legacy.”

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The Web site is expected to be up and running on Wednesday. Thesite is www.alexanderpanther.mysite.com

The site will include written and recorded memories from itsformer faculty and students, an open blog for anyone to tellstories of their time there or to ask questions of its alumni andshort biographies.

“The biographies are of people who we think had a greatinfluence on the school and the legacy of Alexander High School,”Williams said.

Perhaps the biggest draw to those without a tie to the school,however, is the more than 1,000 photographs. Williams said he hopesstudents and others interested in that historical period can gainsome knowledge from the site and possibly even include photographsin any reports they do for school.

“Research puts it at the largest and most comprehensive site ona pre-integration high school on the Web,” Williams said, citingstatistics from the host agency. “As a matter of fact it is in aclass by itself.”

The site also includes a free search engine for people to helplocate alumni stay in touch with old friends. The engine is open tothe public as well.

“Many of the other Web sites, like Classmates.com, charge feesto use their search engine,” Williams said. “Ours is free to thepublic anywhere there is a computer and access to theInternet.”

The Web site will updated frequently as the committee continuesto gather information and artifacts.

“This is a living Web site,” Williams said. “It will update asoften as we get memorabilia from the community. That’s veryimportant. We’ll be relying heavily on the community to supply uswith things from the high school’s past.”

Stories and photographs can be added to the site directly, hesaid. Physical artifacts may be mailed to Williams at 350 Lake ofPines Drive, Jackson MS, 39206, for inclusion on the site. Theitems will be photographed and returned to the owner.

“We guarantee to return anything in the shape it was in when wegot it,” he said.

At an absolute minimum, he said, the site will update once atleast every other year following the Alexander High Schoolreunion.

The Web site committee will sponsor an Alexander Old SchoolDance and Ball during the first weekend in October 2007 to continueto support the financial side of the Web site and pay hosting fees.The committee hopes to make it an annual event.

The committee is also selling sponsorships that includeadvertising on the site, Williams said. Advertising revenue willalso be used to pay hosting fees or otherwise advance the site.

The school opened in 1901 as a one-room schoolhouse forblacks.

The school was destroyed by fire in 1952 and was rebuilt. Thelast Alexander High School graduating class was in 1970.