Asheville Black Family History and Stephens-Lee High School Graduates

Are any of these people your relatives?


Former graduates of Stephens-Lee High School, educational achievements and biographical information.

We felt very fortunate to find these photographs, as well as the information regarding when these early graduates of Stephens-Lee completed their studies. The further information about their later educational attainments and what the were doing in 1928 spurred us on to find out what more we could find. This type of historical information for Asheville’s black community is invaluable, both to the North Carolina Room and to the Asheville community.


Mary Russell Hall

Stephens-Lee, 1915  Salutatorian

Livingstone College, 1917

Winston-Salem Teachers College, B.S.

Teacher, Mountain Street School, 1925-1958

Asheville native, daughter of Edward R. Russell.

Married David K. Hall, one son David K. Hall, Asheville dentist. Two grandchildren, David K. Hall III, Marilyn Hall Carter.

Hopkins Chapel AME Church organist and choir director.

Died January 25, 1961, age 61.


Miss Leona C. McCool

Stephens-Lee, 1921

Kittrell Normal School, 1925

Winston-Salem Teachers College, B.S. in Education, Graduate work at Columbia University, New York and Pennsylvania State University.

Teacher, Mountain Street School, 1927

Continued at Mountain Street through 1952, retired in 1970 after 45 years.

Asheville native, daughter of C. H. and Ethel Porter McCool.

Married Ralph Owens, no children.

Died December 26, 2000.



Lila Bennett Brogdon/Brogden

Stephens-Lee, Kennedy Medal for Sewing

Tuskegee N. & I. Domestic Science and Art; Teacher Training

Dressmaker Ridge Street, 1928.

Asheville native, daughter of J. W. and Rachel Bennett

Married James W. Brogdon, October 22, 1922. Children: Ethildea Mae, James Wesley, Lala Bell, Daniel Page, Clarence Edward.

Teacher, Swannanoa, N.C. 1947.

Moved to Detroit, MI 1951.  Death index gives her date of death as April 1964.

These photographs are from the 1928 Stephens-Lee High School annual where they listed former graduates. (You can click here to view the fully digitized and keyword searchable 1928 annual plus assorted annuals from other decades.) Further research added using,, Asheville City Directories and the Buncombe County Register of Deeds. More Stephens-Lee graduates to come, as research is done. We would love to have former Stephens-Lee graduates living in Asheville help us do the research. If you would like to help, or if you have more information on any of these people please email Zoe Rhine, North Carolina Room Librarian, Pack Memorial Public Library at If you, or someone you know, might be interested but does not have access to the internet, stop in and see us, or call the North Carolina Room at 828-250-4740.

The Stephens-Lee High School Annual, 1928 is the property of the Stephens-Lee Archive Room at the Stephens-Lee Center. The North Carolina Room has been working in conjunction with the Center, to scan all of their Stephens-Lee High School annuals that are not in the North Carolina Room. If you have an annual that is not yet scanned, please consider loaning it to us to add it to our online collection of scanned annuals. We are also looking for any of the Stephens-Lee school newspapers.

Stephens-Lee High School Annuals scanned to date include:

1926, 1928, 1933, 1944, 1946-47, 1948, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1964, 1967 South French Broad High School, 1968 South French Broad High School.

Post by Zoe Rhine librarian

1 Comment

  1. You need to contact my friend Willie Mae Brown, 93 White Fawn Dr, 828-254-0475. She’s a leader in the Alumnae Assoc. Maybe you’re already working w/ them?

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