ST. LOUIS – Jerreld Fisher remembers walking by the corner of Vandeventer and Natural Bridge avenues in north St. Louis almost 60 years ago. It was November 1963 when he heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
“I recall wanting to do something to serve my country,” Fisher said.
A few years later, he graduated from Beaumont High School and would go on to study electrical engineering before being drafted to serve in the U.S. Navy.
“I had skills and ability, and I was more than happy to put it on the line for the country,” Fisher said.
He would go on to oversee power on a nuclear submarine and become one of the first black sailors to serve in that role.
“It was a turbulent time,” he said.
Fisher believes his position helped garner respect from other sailors.
“You couldn’t get anything done or do anything without electric which is what I did,” he said.
Beaumont High School closed in 2014 but has a rich history in St. Louis.
“There are many famous alumni that came out of Beaumont,” said Desiree Speed, director of counseling for the St. Louis Public School District.
She is also a former Beaumont educator. Desiree said several of the students known as the Arkansas Nine came to Beaumont, where they were welcomed and completed their high school education.
“Quite a few Major League Baseball players, writers, prominent educators, health care workers, politicians, all came out of Beaumont,” Speed said.