Henry Emmett McCracken, or Emmett as he preferred to be called, was born on September 12, 1906, in Hopkins, South Carolina; Emmett wanted to be an educator for as long as he could remember. Growing up, he often helped his father work the fields and care for the animals on the land they rented out in Pritchardville, SC. This experience laid the foundation of agricultural knowledge that he would later use in his career.
At the age of sixteen, he attended what was then Clemson College. After graduating in 1927, he briefly taught at an elementary school in Lexington; he then moved to Bluffton where he taught agriculture at the newly built high school for white children grades first through twelfth. The following year he became principal but continued to teach as well. He became superintendent of Beaufort County School District No. 2 in the early 1950s.
Some of his later accomplishments included supervising the joint Beaufort County and Jasper County project that is known as the Academy for Career Excellence or ACE, helping found the Coastal Empire Mental Health Center, and reviving the Bluffton Community Center for pre-kindergarten and senior citizens. He convinced many of his students to continue their education by going to college even if their parents had not had the opportunity to do so. He always worked towards getting everyone the education they wanted and deserved up until his retirement in 1977. Years after his death in 1982, H.E McCracken Middle School was named after Mr. McCracken as well as a scholarship at Clemson University for residents of Bluffton who would like to follow in his footsteps in studying agriculture.
By Juliet C. O'Riordan
Marscher, Fran. "Educator with a Chuckle: Henry Emmett McCracken." In Remembering the Way It Was at Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Daufuskie. Charleston, SC: History, 2005. 73-76. Print."