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Remembering Gus Roberts

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This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education decision in which the Supreme Court ruled schools be desegregated with all deliberate speed.

As we remember those who bravely crossed color lines in our local schools 60 years ago, one man reached out to us to offer his apologies.

Calvin Cook attended Central High in Charlotte.

In September 1957, a student by the name of Gus Roberts was the first African American assigned to Central.

"I was disappointed when I found out he was deceased, because there was one thing that I wanted to do," he said.

That one thing comes down to a simple gesture.

Cook said, " I wanted to approach him and say look guy, I am sorry."

Cook doesn't speak to a specific act, but rather to the climate and conditions of 1957.

Roberts died in 1992 at the age of 51. An obituary mentioned nothing about his courage 35 years before. However, A Charlotte Observer Editorial called him a quiet hero.

"I am hoping that he would forgive me for the things that were happening to him," Cook said.

For a student who was part of historic headlines, Gus Roberts has vanished into obscurity.

The first African American student to graduate from an integrated Charlotte Mecklenburg school is buried in an unmarked grave at York Memorial Gardens.

WBTV aired a special half hour this past Wednesday about the 60th anniversary of the Brown versus Board decision which includes a look back on those who made sacrifices and a look at our current schools to see what's changed in the past 60 years.

If you missed the show, Brown at 60: Reading, Writing, and Bridging the Racial Divide, you can watch it here.

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