Eula D. Britton (1927-1957)
The actual date of her birth is not known. She was the third child of
nine, born to Edward and Mary Jane Dunnings. History tells us that her
father began a school on the farm where she was raised. He called it the
Dunnings School. She and her siblings were taught basic reading, writing
and arithmetic, during their time away from farm work. Mrs. Britton was
able to finish the eighth grade while still on the farm. It is believed that she
then attended Homer High School of Union Parish where she received her
diploma. She migrated to the Rayville area sometime between 1918 and
1922, where she became a member of the small faculty of the school that
was initially held in the Macedonia Baptist Church. Grades 1-6 were being
taught at this school. Mrs. Britton was named principal .
From this point on, the history of the school becomes clearer. Mrs.
Britton continued to further her education while still the head administrator
of the school that began as a five month school, offering only a sixth grade
education. The school, however, continued to grow to a fully accredited
high school that eventually carried her name. She earned a Bachelor’s
Degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1937) and a
Master’s Degree from Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia (1945). She
retired as principal of Eula D. Britton High School after the 1957 school
Mrs. Britton is credited with laying the real foundation for the education of
African Americans in the Rayville community. She was optimistic beyond
belief and held a keen sense of responsibility for her community, her work,
and her faith. Her outstanding abilities as a teacher and as a principal are
reflected in the many students who came under her tutelage. History cannot
record all of the many remarkable achievements and services that were
formulated through her devotion to excellence, her pursuit of honesty,
integrity, and truthfulness, and of her love for God and for her fellowman.
She became a life long member of Rankin Chapel A.M.E. Church. She had
a passion for education and commitment to those she taught. Her life was a
model of excellence and her memory will live forever among those who
knew her work. Mrs. Britton died April 16, 1986.
James P. Smith
Principal Smith was born in Rayville, Louisiana on July 17, 1925 to Reverend and Mrs. Henderson E. Smith. He was the youngest of three. He attended school in Rayville and was part of the 1944 graduating class from the then Rayville Colored High School. Both of his siblings graduated ahead of him. Robert, in 1939 and Pearlie Mae in 1941. All three received their diplomas after completing eleven years of school Principal Smith spent two years in the United States Army prior to entering Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he received his BS Degree in Education in 1949. He later earned the Master of Education Degree from Louisiana State University. He began his career as an educator at Rhymes Colored High School in 1949, teaching American History and remained there until 1957 when he succeed Mrs. Eula D. Britton as principal of the Eula D. Britton High School.
This was the same school that he graduated from but, it had been re-named in honor of the principal who served during his high school days. He became known as the “BUILDER”. He loved his work as principal and prided himself on being able to communicate with students in such a way as to be helpful in their choices of preparing themselves for the world of work. He was also a strict disciplinarian, and he believed that each student should aim high and embrace values that were long lasting. He also taught the students to have pride in themselves, show respect to others, work hard, be dedicated and always possess courage and integrity. He always would say “It’s not what we gain…but what we give that measures the worth of the life we live”. Principal Smith served as principal at Eula D. Britton High School until 1969 when he was assigned to various supervisory roles with the Richland Parish School Board. He retired as an educator in 1985.
Principal Smith was called to the ministry in 1982 and was ordained the same year. He later attended the Theological Seminary of Monroe, Louisiana, where he received the Bachelor of Theology Degree in 1983. He became the pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church in Bonita, Louisiana and served until his death in 1987.