In August 1969, my high school Russian class was given an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity to take an all expenses paid trip to Russia. I often reflect back on that trip and how blessed we were, as young African Americans, to have such a unique experience. We were accompanied by a photographer from Ebony magazine, and the trip was featured in the magazine’s November 1969 issue in an article titled To Russia – With Understanding. We were also followed by cameras from the television news show 60 Minutes and featured in a segment on the show – Booker T. Washington High School Goes to Russia. We were interviewed by a local television station here in Atlanta, and there was an article in the newspaper. Yes, it was our “15 minutes of fame”.
At our 40th high school class reunion this past August, we were reunited with classmates from our trip. This reunion was made even more special by a visit from our Russian teacher, Ms. Billie (Davis) Gaines. Many of us had not seen Ms. Gaines since high school. There were hugs and laughter, and yes, a few tears. It was truly a joyous occasion. There was much to share and reminisce about. It was an evening we will probably never forget. It was a night for - Memories of Russia – Then & Now.
Top photo: Ebony Magazine, To Russia – With Understanding, November 1969. ()
Bottom photo: From the personal collection of the owner of this blog.