WASHINGTON -- Born in the early 1900s, they are eyewitnesses to America at its worst -- decades of segregation and racism.
Those who survived it and are still alive today have a powerful bond.
Take that bond one more step, they were also classmates, who, after 75 years of friendship, still get together.
Every few years, a group of Lincoln High School graduates out of Jefferson City, Missouri meet, despite the decades rolling by. And for Robert Flowers, a Fort Washington, Maryland resident, he still meets with two friends from Kindergarten.
The year they met? 1943.
At the time, Lincoln was one of only three schools in the entire state of Indiana for Black students. And this trio has supported each other ever since.
"Well, it's not a fond memory, but when I graduated high school, I was what, the salutatorian? I forgot my speech," said Flowers.
"I was sitting down there saying, 'oh come on, come on,'" said his friend Delphyne Brown.
They have been friends for 75 years.
While many of the memories are funny and fond, they've all been shaped by a much harder past.
"I remember as late as grad school in Atlanta, I had to ride on the rear of the bus and blacks had to sit in the lobby during movies. I remember that very vividly," said Dr. Robert Brown.
These Lincoln grads wear their success like a badge. Many of them have gone on to become judges, Lt. Colonels, congressmen and journalists. And for Dr. Brown, now 83, an administrator for NASA during one of its most difficult times.
"I had only been on the job for three weeks. The Challenger Shuttle exploded and I was standing next to Christa McAullife's parents. We all faces crisis. What do you do in the circumstance?"
He got everyone on a bus, they headed back to their hotel and they prayed. The group says all of these years, all of these experiences and the older they get, make them value friendships even more. And there's an understanding that the road to progress is always under construction.
"Life is fleeting, you cherish every moment. I thought getting old would have taken much longer. We just enjoy every moment we can get together," said Flowers.