GUIDANCE THROUGH TURMOIL: Baker left lasting impact on Covington County
Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 10, 2017
Dr. C.C. Baker will be inducted into the 2017 Andalusia High School Football Hall of Fame this month for the essential role he played in ensuring a smooth transition from segregation to integration during a turbulent period in our nation’s history.
“Dr. Baker and the superintendent at Andalusia, Mr. Zeneah, knew that the schools were going to integrate so they made plans,” Sammy Glover said. “Without their plans, things wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as they did. Because of them, Andalusia didn’t go through the same animosity and problems that other school systems did. Their collaboration was extremely crucial in making it a smooth transition.”
Baker’s legacy began forming many years before integration when he began his career as a teacher and assistant coach at Covington County Training School in 1954.
“His impact on this community was tremendous,” Glover said. “He molded many young men and women into productive members of society.”
In 1955, Baker was promoted to head football coach and later became principal of Covington County Training School.
“At that time, Covington County Training School was the only black high school in the county,” Glover said. “His impact wasn’t just felt in Andalusia. He impacted the lives of young men and women all over Covington County.”
Glover said that Baker expected the same from his students as he did his football players.
“He treated us the same,” Glover said. “I didn’t play sports, but he impacted me by his leadership. He expected the same qualities from his students as he did his football players. He taught about life, character, respect and giving back to your community.”
In 1960, Baker became principal of Ralph J. Bunche High School and he was credited with laying the foundation for the success of the undefeated 1960 football team. That team was elected in the AHS HOF in 2012.
Carter G. Woodson High School opened in 1961 and Baker became the school’s first principal.
“Not only was he the first principal at Woodson High School, he was the only principal in the history of the school,” Glover said. “He served as the principal there for the nine years that it was a school. He was my mentor and he taught me a lot about life. Really, he taught a lot about a lot of things. He touched many lives during that time and you can still see the effects of it today.”
The impact he had on Covington County and the city of Andalusia hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“His impact on this city and county were profound,” Glover said. “Several years ago, Andalusia honored him on the Square and named the street after him (C.C. Baker Ave.) that runs in front of the old Woodson High School (now Woodson Learning Center) to the bypass. That is the kind of respect that people have for what he did around here. They gave him a replica street sign of it. When I went to visit him a few weeks ago at his home in Montgomery, he still has the street sign in his den.”
Baker left Andalusia after integration and later served as a professor and administrator at Alabama State University and Auburn University.
He served as president of Alabama State University from 1991-1994, and spent 13 years the Assistant State Superintendent of Education for the State of Alabama.
“There can’t be enough said about the lives he reached and the impact that he had on everyone that crossed his path,” Glover said. “He has had a lasting impact on this entire county.”
This is the eighth annual Andalusia High School Hall of Fame Banquet and Installation Ceremony.
It’s hosted by the Andalusia High School Quarterback Club.
The event will be held Sat., Aug. 19 in the AHS volleyball gymnasium at 6 p.m.
This year’s inductees also include George Patton Gantt, Denny Merritt, Sam Johnson, Kendall Taylor and Paul Spears.
Tickets for the event are $25 and may be purchased at Jones Veterinary Hospital, Southern Independent Bank, Jones and Jones Attorneys at Law and from Jody Jackson.