The J.O. Johnson High School marching band from Huntsville entertains the crowd viewing the Trinity Reunion Parade on the downtown square in Athens Saturday.

A young Caulyne Coble thought when she graduated 74 years ago from Trinity High School that the superior education she received was available to all students, black and white.

It wasn’t until she graduated from college and returned to Limestone County to begin teaching school that she realized Trinity was a private school, unsupported by local taxpayers.

Trinity was founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association to educate former slaves and the children of former slaves. As early as the school’s 25th anniversary in 1890, the keynote speaker for the event, the Rev. B.F. Foster, of Topeka, Kansas, noted that, “ministers, lawyers, statesmen, physicians, teachers, editors, missionaries and musicians took their first lessons in literature, law, medicine, theology and music in Trinity School.”

Limestone County Board of Education began taking over operation of Trinity n 1943, but the missionary association remained active in school affairs for another decade.

This weekend, Caulyne Coble Bramlett, 91, continued that tradition and was recognized as one of the distinguished alumni of the school, which closed in 1970. Bramlett, of Los Angeles, presided over the fifth Trinity High School Grand Reunion as parade marshal on Saturday, and then later on Saturday night she was crowned “Miss Alumni Trinity” at a banquet and dance at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Saturday night’s speaker was retired Cook County, Ill., judge Eugene Pincham, Class of 1941.

Bramlett said Friday that she returned to teach at Trinity in 1942-44, and then returned to Tennessee with her sights set on greener pastures.

“I told my mother, I’m leaving and going to wherever they pay the most money and to the largest education system in the United States,” said Bramlett. “She told me, ‘You’re not as young as you used to be and jobs are as easy to get.’”

Bramlett went to Los Angeles and “looked the situation over,” came back to Tennessee to work and save money, and then went back to try Los Angeles schools again.

“I passed my written and oral exams and they said, if we don’t give you a regular job and we hire you as a substitute, what will you do? I told them I’d go back to Tennessee.”

Bramlett was hired into the Los Angeles system in 1956 and retired from that system in 1980. “California’s been good to me,” she said.

On Saturday hundreds of spectators dotted the route as the Trinity Grand Reunion parade wound east on Washington Street, circled the courthouse square, down Green Street and onto Brownsferry to Hine, where it turned and proceeded to Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park.

Parade entries included the Athens High School leading the procession and Huntsville’s Johnson High School bringing up the rear. At the culmination of the parade the Johnson Band treated the gathering to an impromptu concert and dance routines.

The parade also included numerous stretch limousines containing retired Trinity and Limestone County teachers. Several of the graduating classes decorated cars and floats.

This morning, nearly 700 Trinity alumni attended area churches of their choosing as the capping event to a weekend of activities that began with a Friday barbecue picnic and social time at Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park. Returning former Trinity students sported event T-shirts in the school colors of purple and white with the mascot panther on the back.

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