GSO Senior High grad, Boyd Bradley passesBy Yasmine Regester / September 25, 2015
Greensboro is mourning the passing of Josephine Boyd Bradley, the first Black student to enroll at Greensboro Senior High School. Bradley passed on September 15, 2015 at her home in Atlanta, Georgia due to natural causes. Funeral services will be held in Greensboro, N.C. on Saturday, September 26 at Metropolitan United Methodist Church; 1701 E. Market Street with visitation at 1 p.m. and the service beginning at 2 p.m. Perry J. Brown Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Born in Greensboro North Carolina on March 7, 1940, to Cora Lee Dungee Boyd and Robert ELL Boyd, she grew up in a small black community off Pisgah Church Road.
On Sept. 4, 1957, Bradley became the first Black student to integrate Grimsley High School, known then as Greensboro Senior High School. She has said she transferred to Grimsley her senior year because it was closer to her home. It was also the same week the Arkansas National Guard blocked nine Little Rock kids from entering a high school there.
Bradley went on to graduate with honors and later she married Dr. Hayworth Bradley of High Point, N.C.
In April 2006, Bradley was honored by the very school that shunned her with a portrait that hangs in the front hall of the main building.
Bradley dedicated her life to academia and spent the last 17 years as a professor of African American studies at Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, GA. She received her undergraduate degree from N.C. Central University. She also attended Michigan State University where she received a Master’s degree. Bradley went on to earn a Ph.D. in African American studies and holds certification in women’s studies from Emory University, writing her dissertation on her Greensboro Senior High School experience.
“It’s amazing because I would say that to us she was just Mom. Despite all of her accomplishments, she was humble. I think her legacy is the strength she gave all of us and in the students she met along the way. What she went through she was able to turn into something positive by impacting the lives of not only African America kids, but everyone she came in contact with. Her gift was her ability to help people,” said Bradley’s son, Mark Gray.
Gray noted that education was always stressed in their household. “College was never not an option. The legacy we hold on to is the value of education she instilled in us,” said Gray, who added that both his sisters hold Master’s degrees, and he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland.
Bradley loved traveling, reading and writing. Her memory and legacy will be cherished by three children Paulette, Mark, and Teresa; two grandchildren, two sisters, four brothers along with a host of aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, and a large community of colleagues and students.