History comes to life Feb. 24 when 1942 Sayville High School graduate Enid Burton Jones speaks during a special online broadcast event to celebrate Black History Month.
Jones, 96, who enjoyed a successful career as a high-ranking civilian employee with the U.S. Air Force, will discuss the success she experienced after high school, as well as the challenges she faced while growing up in a time of segregation.
Jones and her family moved to Sayville from Harlem when she was in sixth grade; she was the only African American in her high school graduating class.
Chances are that she’ll bring up that time she won the spelling bee in seventh grade and the awkward moments of having her braided hair accidentally dip into the inkwells the students used at the time.
She mentioned those “warm memories” during a pre-event discussion with the event’s organizers, the Sayville Library, Sayville Alumni Society, Sayville Historical Society and Sayville Schools. .
Jones of California will also talk about her older brother, the late Alton Burton, a Tuskegee Airman who in the 1960s served as the chief engineer for the construction of the World Trade Center.
After high school, Enid Jones went on to earn her Master’s in Administration, before rising up the civilian ranks in the U.S. Air Force.
She served was deputy chief of contract management, a regional position that covered an area that spanned from San Diego to Seattle. She was the first warranted female contracting officer, the first female corporate administrative contracting officer and the first female/black chief of contracts.
Hal Brown, president of the Sayville Alumni Association, and Sayville school board member James Bertsch will serve as co-moderators.
“Talking with Enid Burton Jones … does not happen without each of the participating organizations,” Bertsch said. “Hal Brown of the Sayville Alumni Association ‘discovered’ Enid and her brother.
“We have all of the records of such great figures because of Roy Fedelem and the Sayville Historical Society. But Jonathan Pryor, head of the Sayville Library’s Outreach Services, is who came up with the idea of this interview,” Bertsch continued. “The best part is that Dr. Christine Criscione and Mr. Rob Hoss of Sayville Schools got our students involved in learning about Ms. Jones’ childhood in Sayville.”