ABERDEEN – For Edward Haynes’ childhood, there were new worlds to explore in the small worlds of Aberdeen and Prairie. As a child growing up, he was only allowed to roam so far and thought the city limits ended with his neighborhood.
Partaking in activities growing up in Ward 3, where he now serves as alderman, he moved to the southside, known as Out South, in third or fourth grade. He was among the first group of students to attend Prairie school when it was integrated too. He graduated in 1978 and was a captain of the last undefeated football team at Aberdeen High School.
Haynes’ memories of growing up in Aberdeen played a part in research for the Black History Trail, and he said every stop is important to local black history.
“Shivers was the first black high school, and it still stands today. It used to be one story but it caught fire and was rebuilt with two stories,” he said. “Belle Elementary used to be Vine Street, and it was the black elementary school.”
In the same area, he recalled other significant sites.
“The Masonic Temple was the cornerstone for the black community. If there were community meetings, they were held there. Westbrooks Funeral Home is the oldest black business in town,” he said. “We had the black library in Newberger Park, which was our own personal park and it had its own pool.”
He remembers playing softball at the park and going to the library to check out books and stay cool during hot summer days. He also remembers several artisan wells throughout town, including one near Vine Street.
Throughout Aberdeen, he said the churches were crucial. Methodist Town and Baptist Ville were two black neighborhoods formed around churches.
“Churches were a big factor. As far as black history, your preachers meant everything,” Haynes said. “I couldn’t go to Methodist Town until I was older for Vacation Bible School. When you were in Baptist Ville, you knew you were in a black community.”