Gus Roberts: Forgotten at the graveside - | WBTV Charlotte

Gus Roberts: Forgotten at the graveside

Gus Roberts helped break the color barrier in Charlotte schools. (Source: Robinson Spangler Room Charlotte Public Library) Gus Roberts helped break the color barrier in Charlotte schools. (Source: Robinson Spangler Room Charlotte Public Library)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

While Dorothy Counts Scoggins received international attention by attempting to integrate the old Harding High School, Gus Roberts on the same day in 1957 also crossed the color line at Central High school.

"This is a person who made history in this community," Counts Scoggins said. Her history is well documented, but in the case of Gus Roberts the final chapter is still unfinished.

Brenda Barnett at York Memorial Park calls it disappointing because fitting tributes enhance the landscape. 

His final resting place is clearly unmarked.

She said, “Every life needs to be memorialized, and we would like everyone to have a memorial on their burial space." 

"While Gus Roberts is buried in obscurity in South Charlotte, his contributions are part of a living exhibit in Center City. It focuses on education and changes in the Charlotte school system, and can be found at the Levine Museum of the New South."

Wall panels tell the story at the Levine, and so do several books that mention his plight. 

Roberts was also honored in a Charlotte Observer editorial when he died in 1992.

The Central High Student was said to be well disciplined and just wanted to get an education.

Former Charlotte mayor and current district representative Patsy Kinsey was in Central's class of 59 with Roberts.

" I remember when he died, “Kinsey told WBTV. "Gus was very quiet, and very much a gentleman, really a nice young man." Nice enough some say to deserve a community outcry.

"My hope is that the community will come together and make sure that there is marker recognizing him, “Counts Scoggins said.

Doing so at this cemetery brings a different kind of 3 Rs: reverence, remembrance, and something that was lacking on his first day of school...respect.

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly