Home Opinion Letter to the Editor Handy went to Harvard

Handy went to Harvard


Dear Editor:

Quite a few issues back one of your writers wrote that he had never met or heard of a person from LaFayette who attended Harvard University. Obviously the writer did not meet or hear about my father, Elisha Sylvester Handy, Principal of the old Chambers County Training School.  The school today is referred to as the John P. Powell School.

Mr. Handy brought his young family to LaFayette in 1925 where he became the Principal of CCTS, a position that he held until his retirement in 1953. He passed away in March of 1959.

At Harvard, Mr. Handy earned certification in Civil Engineering. He was gifted in Mathematics and Engineering. However, he was unable to pursue this career path because during this time in our history, the country was not hiring Black Certified Engineers even if they earned their credentials from Harvard. In order to feed his family, however, Mr. Handy accepted the Principalship at CCTS. Mr. Handy saw this position as an opportunity to share his passion for learning with the students in his school.

Also, Mr. Handy’s daughter, Jewell Handy Gresham, received her Doctorate Degree from Harvard’s sister school, Columbia University in New York City.

I think that it would be a stretch to include a granddaughter in this mix– Catherine Handy graduated from Harvard in 2006. While Cathy grew up in Westbury, NY she spent her summers in LaFayette visiting her Aunt Hattie Manning. She is presently a Doctor at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

My Father was an avid reader of The LaFayette Sun and for as long as I can remember he was a subscriber to the paper. We always had a copy in our home. That streak has not been broken because to this day, I receive The LaFayette Sun at my home in Westbury. It is unfortunate that circumstances prevented the writer of the original article from meeting my Father. If they had met, I am sure that the meeting would have been very cordial and informative.


Albert E. Handy