McGirt's Bridge Road, Laurinburg
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If Laurinburg Institute had a soundtrack, it would be bebop. Something spirited and cool from the horn of favorite son Dizzy Gillespie.
The story 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.
Today, Laurinburg Institute has established another recognized excellence – on the hard court -- pioneered by alumni like Boston Celtic legend Sam Jones and Charlie Scott, the North Carolina Tar Heels’ first black hoops star.
The vision, the education, the excellence, and the sweet horn go on.