A Secret Treasure: The Bonds-Wilson Reading Room

A Historic Look into Our Campus


As many of you know, Academic Magnet shares a campus with the School of the Arts on the historic Bonds-Wilson Campus. While the fact that our school is on the grounds where Bonds-Wilson High School once stood, how much do you really know about our predecessor? Recently, I decided to research more about Bonds-Wilson High School to understand some of the history of the campus. When I was looking into this, I stumbled upon an article previously published in The Talon, highlighting a secret treasure on our campus: The Bonds-Wilson Room. 

front of school

Bonds-Wilson High School was opened in 1950 and closed its doors in 1985. The school originally served the predominantly African-American community of Liberty Hill and was then integrated in 1971 with the addition of many kids from the nearby Air Force base. The integration was not easy for many that were forced to leave Bonds-Wilson, but the school continued to thrive. After its closing in 1985, students who were set to attend Bonds-Wilson were sent to North Charleston High School, but the community of alumni remains strong. 

One of the most prominent aspects of Bonds-Wilson High School was its very own marching band. The sound of Bonds-Wilson was led by band director Lonnie Hamilton. Hamilton’s impact has remained the pride of many of the alumni of the school. He was able to greatly succeed in his goals of exposing children to activities they had never experienced before such as participating in the marching band. In addition to being the school’s Band Director, Hamilton served as “a father figure, a mentor, a drill sergeant, a chaperone and a guidance counselor insisting students go to college”. Another notable alumni of the school is Art Shell, an NFL Hall of Famer and the first African American Head Coach in the NFL. 








Now, thanks to former AMHS student William Pugh, AMHS and SOA share a room dedicated to the remembrance of Bonds-Wilson High School. The room is located in the Media Center and is in the first conference room on the right side upstairs. This room is filled with memorabilia from the school, yearbooks, old cheerleading uniforms, pictures, and informative literature on segregation issues. After stumbling upon the article, I went to take a look at the room myself. I was very surprised that I had had no idea it existed prior to this in my four years at Magnet and many of my peers were fascinated by the room as well. While on the way to explore the room with a few friends, we ran into Ms. Pinckney and she revealed that her own father had been a teacher in the science department at Bonds-Wilson High School. After hearing this, we searched through yearbooks and found Mr. Arthur E. Pinckney in the Science Department section of one of the yearbooks. If you have never been to the Bonds-Wilson Reading Room, I definitely recommend stopping by and checking out some of the history of our campus as it goes much deeper than what I touched on.








For a deeper understanding of the history of the Bonds-Wilson Campus: https://www.postandcourier.com/news/bonds-wilson-alumni-and-teachers-recall-integration-of-beloved-liberty-hill-school/article_711937ac-2092-11ec-b8da-ffd80a5d7fbf.html