Miss Charlie A. Gray was born in Donaldsonville, Georgia November 2, 1902. She was one of four children born to Henry and Ollie Gray. After the death of her father and upon completion of high school, the family moved to Moultrie, Georgia.
Her mother later married, becoming Mrs. Ollie G. Smith. Mrs. Smith was widely known in the community for her church and civic work. She worked for the Frank Pidcock family for 30 years.
From domestic work and the cotton fields, Miss Gray decided to pursue a college education. She attended Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama where she received her B.S. Degree in Education. Miss Gray returned to Moultrie and began her teaching career in Moultrie Public schools. Early in her teaching career, her sister, Whittier Beamer, died in South Carolina and left five small children, the youngest being three weeks old. It was then Miss Gray decided that she would help rear and educate her sister's children. Two of these children, Helen and Catherine Wiley taught school in Colquitt County Schools.
Miss Gray never married. She dedicated her life to the welfare of others. Taken from one of her roll books dated 1929-1930, Miss Gray signed her last name with an E added to Gray. Miss Gray died April 12, 1946. She taught school for twenty years.
In October of 1956, a new school opened its doors to over a thousand students. The school, built to serve the black community of Northwest Moultrie, had a staff of 37 teachers, a principal, librarian, secretary, visiting teacher, and 5 lunchroom workers.
When the time came to name the new school, the community felt that the honor should go to Miss Charlie A Gray who spent her lifetime teaching generations of second grade students. Mrs. Elizabeth Cunningham, a special education teacher at Gray remembers her second grade teacher.
"She was a beautiful lady--- tall, stately. She dressed well and carried herself well." Miss Gray was concerned with her students and their futures."
"Miss Gray always made us speak correctly," Mrs. Cunningham remembers. "She wanted us to have a place in the world, and she knew we would not find that place unless we had a mastery of the English language." According to those who knew her and studied under her, Miss Graye was a "dedicated, loyal, and dynamic" teacher who always tried to uplift her students.
Many changes have taken place since Gray was first opened. Although Miss Charlie A. Gray did not live to see the school develop and grow, she would surely approve of the school's philosophy: "To facilitate each student's development into a fully functioning member of society, to guide the student to make responsible contributions in a democratic society; to give students a sense of personal worth to allow for individual differences, and to help each student make the most of strengths and compensate for weaknesses."
Through this philosophy and the dedication of staff and administration, the spirit of the lady who taught, guided, and inspired so many of Moultrie's young people still lives at Charlie A. Gray.
Background information was furnished by the last of Miss Gray's nephews. This information was reviewed by his schoolmates on July 31, 1987, and Wilbur Allen Beamer died September 14, 1987 in Schenectady, New York.
(Note: The author and date of the essay above are unknown. This document was retrieved from archived files in the C.A. Gray Jr. High School Media Center.)