LOS ANGELES — There were plenty of smiles and warm hugs going around Susan Miller Dorsey High School Sept. 23. The occasion was an all-day love affair by many Dorsey High School alums participating in the 80th anniversary celebration of the school.
Dorsey High School has been a flashpoint of notable alums including former Major League Baseball manager Sparky Anderson, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, ex-NFL star Keyshawn Johnson and entertainers Billy Preston and Fifth Dimension singer Marilyn McCoo.
Luminaries such as longtime journalist and civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, civil rights activist Eddie Jones, former Major League Baseball player Don Buford and George McKenna III, a former principal at the school; were among those who attended the ceremonial event, which featured performances by jazz artists and the Dorsey High School band.
Hutchinson, author of notable books such as “The Obama Legacy,” “How Obama Won,” and “It’s Our Music Too: The Black Experience in Classical Musical,” said “I think it’s very important that while there are so many of us that are left that know the history, have been so much a part of the community, have contributed so much to Dorsey High School and everything that it has represented to actually be here and be honored, to be recognized. … This school has a rich history,” Hutchinson said.
“And the school is in the community. When I got the invitation and heard about this, I said ‘Wow,’ this is a tremendous honor; not only for me, for the community too, and the school and everything it has represented. It means everything, and it will continue to mean everything to me.’”
Jones, a longtime fixture in the movement pushing for civil rights in Los Angeles, was feted, along with Hutchinson and others, as a distinguished honoree of the school. Jones said he was just honored by the award.
“It is amazing. I’m honored and I’m also humbled with complete humility that some recognized the civil rights work that is being done to this day in 2017,” Jones said. “It is more than a pleasure to stand with my different class alumni from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and all the way up to the year 2017. It’s a very wonderful gift because a lot of them, some of the ones inducted are not here today. They’ve passed away and gone on. So, I’m grateful to be here.”
The Dorsey tree runs long and deep with Milton Edwards (class of 1943) and at 92 perhaps the oldest to being present at the event. Buford, who played 10 seasons of professional baseball with the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox, was a member of the Dorsey High School 1955 graduating class. Buford said the values he learned from the different sports coaches he had helped shaped him as a young person.
“You had options,” Buford said. “That was one of the real key things that high school did for me.”