Women’s History: Honoring beloved leader and teacher, Lucille W. Gorham

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We honor a beloved teacher in Pitt County. The late Lucille W. Gorham was considered a pillar in the Greenville community. 

WNCT’s Amber Joseph spoke with people who say she had an impact on everyone. 

“Ms. Gorham was just one in a million,” said Vardina Harrington, Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center after-school teacher.  

A woman leaving a lasting impact on so many lives in Greenville.

The late Lucille Gorham was a beloved teacher at Saint Gabriel’s Catholic School in Greenville. 

Ms. Lucille was also the first African American woman to serve on the Pitt County Board of Education in 1969.

“Intellectual, classy, helpful, direct, educational progress, she always wanted all of us to go to school,” her son, Charles Gorham said. 

Charles remembers his mother as a leader in the neighborhood. 

“She was the matriarch of the community. She walked up to that church every day, she was a playground coordinator up there. She took baskets of fruit and candy and stuff and handed it out to children. She was aware that our community needed a role model and she tried to be that,” said Charles.

By helping young people grow like Vardina Harrington.

“If you were doing something wrong she would correct you but the thing about it was she would never raise her voice. She would just tell you what you did wrong,” said Harrington. 

Harrington believes it takes a village to raise a child and Ms. Lucille was apart of the village, guiding youth to success. 

Harrington now teaches at the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center, sharing the lessons Ms. Lucille taught her. 

“She was a mother for everybody. She was everybody’s mother and they would come and feel welcome,” said Charles.

Ms. Lucille died on January 27, 2019. 

As Charles grieves, the love and support from the community is overwhelming from the lives she touched. 

He recalls his fondest memories with his mother

“She got me on this tulip thing as a young boy and we would get out here and she would make me dig and I had to turn the soil over and plant those tulips and everybody in the neighborhood would come by in the spring and say ‘Oh, this yard is beautiful, oh these tulips’. That was very educational for me to learn how to take the earth and produce something beautiful,” said Charles. 

To Greenville, Ms. Lucille was a leader leaving a legacy that will forever be remembered. 

To Charles, she was just mom. 

“She was just mama. Even today she resting in power. I’m still getting people that call and say you don’t understand how influential your mother how she changed my life,” said Charles.  

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