Educators Gilbert, Emma Holmes honored
Mar 1, 2018 9:43 AM -
The Randolph Society Foundation Board is pleased to announce that Gilbert Holmes and Emma Penny Holmes, educators who shaped the lives of countless local children, will be inducted into the 2018 class of honorees. Gilbert Holmes, the son of a minister who had been born a slave, was born in Du Quoin in 1898. After the deaths of his parents, Gilbert worked as a laborer in an ice factory to help support his grandmother and brother, but by the late 1920s, he had enrolled at Southern Illinois Normal University (now SIUC). Gilbert studied to become a teacher and began his career in Coulterville's public schools. In 1933, he was hired to teach at the Vernon School in Sparta. Staffed by black teachers and administrators, the school was opened in 1912 as part of an effort by Sparta's African-American community to foster a positive educational environment for the town's black children.