'Somehow Mrs. Warner Left Her Mark'

Mar 17, 2014

Mrs. Warner from the 1986 yearbook

WUNC has been running a series called My Teacher. As a part of the series, students around the state are interviewing their teachers.

Brenda Scott is long out of school, but she's been listening to our stories on the radio and wrote to say:

"I cannot interview my teacher, because she passed away a few years ago.  However, you will see her name as you enter Gallery B at the NC Museum of History, where my exhibit  "Stagville: Black & White" is on display."

Turns out, Brenda's AP U.S. History teacher at C.E. Jordan High, Mrs. Emily Warner, took the class to Historic Stagville in 1985.  Stagville is in Durham. It was one of the largest plantations of the pre-Civil War South. The  Bennehan-Cameron family operated 30,000 acres of land with 900 slaves.

"Little did I know," says Brenda, "that nearly three decades later, Stagville would be the focus of my multi-year photography project. I'm sure that I was not the most promising history student, but somehow Mrs. Warner left her mark."

Brenda first took images in black and white of the buildings and the land. She has a second phase of the project in which she photographs the descendants of the former slaves from the plantation.

"Another teacher whose presence is felt in the exhibit is Mrs. McIver.  On my first day at Jordan, she had me sit by Yolanda Hall - now a jazz vocalist.  Yolanda recorded the soundscape for the exhibit that you will hear in the gallery," notes Brenda.

"Teachers can't predict what lasting effects they will have on students," Brenda Scott says.

We welcome your stories about a teachers that had an impact on you. Submit here.

Brenda Scott, self portrait with the chickens of Stagville
Credit Brenda Scott