The Teoc Reunion brought people back to Carroll County, and the weekend was full of laughter, memories and many native folk rekindling friendships.
According to Mary Fluker, a member of the Teoc Reunion Committee, several people returned and participated in the weekend-long event that took place on the last weekend of July.
Fluker, who served as a tour guide for the area, was one of the hosts for family members that traveled from as far as Texas, Milwaukee, Chicago and Michigan.
“This was an outstanding weekend for those who were born and raised here, and even those who are now a part of the community through marriage,” Fluker said.
The weekend activities began Friday at meet and greet, where people got acquainted at a ceremony held at the Greenwood Leflore Civic Center. A day later, the participants rode a tour bus into Carrollton for a day rediscovering the history of Carroll County.
According to Fluker, one of the families that participated in the reunion was the McCain family, descendants of John S. McCain, Sr. Fluker said members of the McCain family, both black and white, were able to see the history of their ancestry.
Other families included the Sykes, White, Johnson, Whittaker, Davis, and Richmond families.
“We pulled into Carrollton on the tour bus, and there, we started with a tour of the Merrill Museum,” Fluker said.
One of the highlights of the Merrill Museum is the memorabilia and artifacts from the McCain family. A McCain family tree is also on display at the museum.
“The tour of the Merrill Museum was great,” Fluker said.
Following the museum tour, the group toured the Carroll County Courthouse and the school in North Carrollton, where Fluker said some of those present attended years before.
“We first went to Marshall Elementary School, then to J.Z. George, and these were old stomping grounds for some of the tourists,” Fluker said.
Fluker said many of them attended Marshall when it was known as Marshall High School.
“It was an all-black school then, with grades one through 12 until the mid-sixties,” Fluker said. “We then visited the high school and middle school, and they were amazed at the improvements that have been made over the years. The new gym, the athletic building, the football field and the band hall; they were all amazed.”
Fluker said memories of the school during the first years of integration were shared, and the first blacks, Lillie McCain and Valarie Nolan, to graduate from J.Z. George in 1969 shared their stories as well.
Later in the morning the group headed to North Carrollton’s 4-K convenience store for shopping and later headed up Highway 35 North to Teoc.
“On the way to Teoc, we made a special stop, which was requested by Bill McCain of Greenwood, to see the Old Presbyterian Church, called White Church,” Fluker said. “Bill [McCain] was able to give us the history of the church and the cemetery, which is a part of the grounds.”
At noon, the group enjoyed in a picnic at Mitchell Spring M.B. Church, where guests enjoyed some down-home cooking and barbeque.
“The food was ready and waiting when we arrived,” Fluker said. “There was catfish as well.”
On Sunday, there was a gathering at Mitchell Spring for Sunday service. Fluker said Minister Dorothy Whittaker of North Carolina delivered the sermon for the morning.
“It was a powerful message out of John 14 verses 1 through 6,” Fluker said. “We gave a salute to those who may have taken part in the activities that provided us as blacks with the rights that we have today, although all blacks do not exercise their rights to the fullest,” Fluker said.
Fluker said for the McCains, both black and white, she feels that these types of reunions have a special meaning.
“I think that my sister Lillie pointed it out when she quoted a piece from Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech,” Fluker said. “She said [I have a dream that one day sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.] His dream is a reality for us, the McCains. We all had a good time together, eating with fellowship and talking about what it was like growing up in Teoc.”