Beaufort Then & Now: Driving the big yellow school bus

By Woodrow Smith
I lived in Port Royal and attended Robert Smalls High School in Beaufort. I can recall getting our first school bus. Before this, we would catch the Greyhound Bus that traveled between Parris Island and Beaufort daily.
We would depart the bus at Bay Street and Depot Road in Beaufort and walk to school which was located on Ribaut Road and Green Street. We had a driver, but it seems like our bus was driven by our principal, Mr. W. Kent Alston, most of the time.
In 1951, the school board began hiring student drivers. I became a school bus driver and enjoyed it every much. Our routes were very long and required getting up very early and leaving home before day break. There were no bridges across the Broad River in Beaufort County. During that time there was only one high school in Beaufort County for Negroes (which we were called at that time). My route included Burton, Grays Hill, Seabrook and Steward Point areas to Robert Smalls High. My first paycheck for driving was $18 dollars. I was a happy camper. It really wasn’t the pay; I enjoyed driving the “Big Yellow Bus.”

This moment in Beaufort’s history is an excerpt from the book “Beaufort … Then and Now,” an anthology of memories compiled by Holly Kearns Lambert. Copies of this book may be purchased at Beaufort Book Store.  For information or to contribute your memory, contact Holly at lowcountrymemories@hotmail.com or beaufortmemories@gmail.com.

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