PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Alumni of the Pascagoula Negro Carver High School are spending the Fourth of July weekend at their bi-annual reunion.
The all-black school's last class graduated in 1970. The following year, the school integrated with Pascagoula High School.
"This is our history, we can't forget this," said 80-year-old Jacqueline Patton, a 1956 graduate.
History is ongoing theme at the 2017 reunion, especially as more and more alumni begin to age.
"We want this to keep on going when were dead and gone," Patton said.
She was one of dozens who turned out Saturday morning. The rain held off just long enough for the reunion parade to roll.
"When I got out here, I got to jumping around and patting and doing my thing," Patton said.
Floats made their way down Dupont Avenue, the school's royal blue and white colors lining the yards and porches. The pride in the celebration is fueled by the success of the alumni who are products of the Jim Crown era of a segregated school system.
Opened from 1890 to 1970, the school stood where the Aaron Jones Interactive Center now sits.
"The majority of our young people don't know the struggles that we went through to get where we are today. They think everything was handed to us on a silver platter and that's not it," Patton said.
It's a part of history Patton and her cousin Valetta Thompson - a 1960 graduate - hope the younger generation learn and use as motivation to continue to rise.
"It wasn't easy for us. We struggled a lot, we were discriminated a lot," Thompson said.
But thanks to good teachers and community support, students were able to overcome those barriers. Their triumphs are how they reflect during these reunions.
"It's nice to see people you haven't seen for years you know and we just get together and have a good time," Thompson said.
With additional events lined up throughout the weekend, the hope is that the community will be motivated to continue the tradition.
Around 600 people registered for the reunion, the biggest turn out in the event's history.