How Were African American High Schools In Louisiana Named

Names of African American High Schools in Louisiana

Prior to the Civil War and in the immediate years following the war, there was no infrastructure for African American education, except, the church. The initial education effort for African American primary schools was privately funded by African Americans. The Slater Fund was established for African Americans in 1882.  The Rosenwald Fund was established in 1912 establishing rural African American schools. The Jeanes Fund was established in 1907 to aid community, county and rural schools. The first schools established were elementary schools and gradually additional grades were added as the perceived need and funding arose.

                Initial public funds for education were for white students and there was a reluctance to share funds for African American education. Besides there was a well-conceived idea that Negroes did not need a formal education for manual labor. Education evolved over the years; initial school funding was by the freed slaves and, later, by philanthropic donations. The state reluctantly provided funds though at an unequal pace to white schools resulting in inferior equipment and inadequate supplies to black schools. The U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896, upheld this behavior. This extended into the mid-1950’s when the U. S. Supreme Court reversed it’s decision with Brown vs The Topeka Board of Education decision, 1954, changed the paradigm and sixteen years later the schools were largely closed with a few exceptions, less than fifteen schools surviving (down from over two hundred schools in 1970). African American high schools were not the only victims of closure, some legacy white institutions were closed after integration in the early 21st century due to consolidation of resources..

                Just as funding for schools evolved over the years, the names of schools changed, with time to reflect this pattern. Earlier schools were named by the church or community from which they emanated. The church-school expanded into the one-room school. These church-schools may have retained their names. As private funding became available, the donors fund name was added to the name. As public funding came available in the early twentieth century, a pattern of naming from the parish ward, parish, religious icons, religious benefactors and private benefactors began to appear. As African American educators became more abundant and their lifeworks became synonymous to the school, some schools were named after these prominent educators. Examples of these educators are W. O. Boston, Eula D. Britton, Cordelia M. Washington and Hattie B. Watts. Some schools had dual and triple origins. Jonas Henderson and H. C. Ross were educators and ministers. The very first publicly funded high school in Louisiana was named after a president (William McKinley) in 1916. The second high school in Louisiana (1st in New Orleans) was named after a philanthropist (John McDonogh) in 1917. The third high school was simply named generically as their white counterpart with the addition of Colored so there would not be any confusion (Central Colored High School) in 1918.

                There was a distinction of high schools in the late nineteenth century and the early to mid-1950’s in Louisiana. Some schools were considered normal because they taught the standards for teaching. There was a severe shortage of African American teachers and schools. There was also a widely held opinion in many political circles that African Americans did not need an education to do manual tasks. This had two major effects. The school year was inadequate and the level of the school in many instances was limited to elementary, and sometimes, intermediate levels. High school was available in limited arenas (major cities) after 1916. Rural students had to find boarding in a city with relatives or other parties to receive a high school education. Some bright educators in outlying areas seized the moment to advance their peoples’ education by encouraging investment in their education. This led to a proliferation of schools with “Training School” added to its name. A training school taught mechanics, agriculture, home economics and other skills needed to serve the majority population. Some of these schools did, however, teach higher math and other courses necessary to enter college.

                Prior to World War II, nearly sixty African American high schools existed. Many schools were “Training Schools” or “Parish Schools”.  Three of the schools were university related, Southern Laboratory School, Grambling Preparatory School and Xavier Preparatory School. Near the 1950’s a proliferation of schools and a pattern of name changes appeared. Many Schools removed the “Training School” and racial connotations from their names. Other schools used pertinent individuals in the African American community as their namesake. Some of these individuals were Booker T. Washington, Joseph S. Clark, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charles P. Adams, George Washington Carver, Carter G. Woodson, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Charles Drew and Phyllis Wheatley. There were over one hundred-seventy African American high schools in 1970 when integration occurred.

African American high school names were derived from a wide variety of sources. Schools were named after prominent citizens, highly regarded ministers in the African American communities, African American University Presidents, well known African American scientists, physicians, towns, parishes, educators, African American authors, local plantations, religious themes, consolidation themes, local areas, streets, United States Presidents, principals, natural disasters, parish wards, philanthropists (both national and local), African American Universities, local industrial and agricultural products, school superintendents, African American female poets and educators.  School names were a source of pride and names were chosen as a part of role modeling.

Lists of high schools and category from which their name was chosen:

Prominent Citizens

Sumpter Williams High School, Morgan City, LA

African American Ministers

  H. C. Ross High School, Crowley, LA

  William H. Reed High School, Napoleonville, LA

Coleman High School, Gibsland, LA

  James Stephens High School, Ville Platte, LA

  Thomas A. Levy High School, Rosedale, LA

  Joseph Celestine High School, Mamou, LA

  Jonas Henderson High School, New Iberia, LA

  Francis Marion Boley High School, Jeanerette, LA

James A. Herod High School, Abbeville, LA

African American University President

J. S. Clark High School, Opelousas, LA

  Charles P. Adams High School, Oberlin,             

J. S. Clark High School, New Orleans, LA

   J. S. Clark High School, Zwolle, LA

  Mary McLeod Bethune High School, Marksville, LA

  Mary McLeod Bethune High School, Shreveport, LA

  Mary McLeod Bethune High School, Norco, LA

African American Scientist

                George Washington Carver High School, New Orleans, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Kinder, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Shreveport, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Hahnville, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Bunkie, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Deridder, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Sunset, LA

                George Washington Carver High School, Breaux Bridge, LA


Allen High School, Oakdale, LA

                St. Helena High School, Greensburg, LA

                Concordia High School, Vidalia, LA

DeSoto High School, Mansfield, LA

Franklin Parish Training School, Winnsboro, LA

Iberville High School, Plaquemine, LA

Jackson High School, Jonesboro, LA

Jefferson Davis High School, Jennings, LA

Lincoln High School, Ruston, LA

Morehouse High School, Bastrop

Sabine High School, Many, LA

St. Tammany High School, Slidell, LA

Vernon High School, Leesville, LA

Washington Parish Training School, Franklinton, LA

Webster High School, Minden, LA


                Lowery High School, Donaldsonville, LA

                L. B. Landry High School, New Orleans, LA

                C. H. Irion High School, Benton, LA

                Charles Drew High School, Eunice, LA


                Prairieville High School, Duplessis

                Princeton High School, Princeton, LA

                Central Colored High School, Shreveport, LA

                Eden Gardens High School, Shreveport, LA

                Linear High School, Shreveport, LA

                Valencia High School, Shreveport, LA

                Walnut Hill High School, Shreveport, LA

                Waverly High School, Crowville, LA

                Sunshine High School, Sunshine, LA

Scotlandville Senior High School, Baton Rouge, LA

Thomastown High School, Thomastown, LA

Central High School, Natchitoches, LA

Central High School, Calhoun, LA

Phoenix High School, Phoenix, LA

Scottville High School, Belle Chase, LA

Sunrise High School, Sunrise, LA

 Batchelor High School, Batchelor, LA

Springville High School, Coushatta, LA

Alto High School, Alto, LA

Plaisance High School, Plaisance, LA

Sager Brown School/Baldwin Academy, Baldwin, LA

Central High School, Bogalusa, LA

Magnolia High School. Vacherie, LA


                Mary E. Graham High School, Colfax, LA

                Booker T. Washington High School, Shreveport, LA

                Booker T. Washington High School, New Orleans, LA

Charlotte A. Mitchell High School, Bossier City, LA

Carrie Martin High School, Plain Dealing. LA

Katie B. Thomas High School, Elton, LA   

Cordelia M. Washington High School, LA

Esther Toombs High School, Delhi, LA

Eula D. Britton High School, Rayville, LA

Hattie A. Watts High School, Patterson, LA

African American Author                             

                Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School, Washington, LA

                Phyllis Wheatley High School, Melville, LA

                Carter G. Woodson High School, Haynesville, LA

                Carter G. Woodson High School, Lawtell, LA


                Shady Grove High School, Saline, LA

                Southdown High School, Houma, LA


Armstrong High School, Rayne, LA

                Carroll High School, Monroe, LA

B. T. Crawford High School, Arcadia, LA

                Redmond Spikes High School, Elm Grove, LA

                W. O. Boston High School, Lake Charles, LA

                John H. Martyn High School, Kenner, LA

                Myles High School, Sterlington, LA

                O. W. Dillon High School, Kentwood, LA

                Wesley Ray High School, Angie, LA

                Charles H. Brown High School, Springhill, LA

                John S. Dawson High School, St. Francisville High School

Local Philanthropist

                Herndon High School, Belcher, LA

                Chaneyville High School, Zachary, LA

                G. W. Griffin High School, Lake Providence, LA

                John W. Gaines High School, Montgomery, LA

                Walter L. Cohen High School, New Orleans, LA

                Gaudet High School, New Orleans, LA

                Gilbert Academy, New Orleans, LA

                McDonogh 35 Senior High School , New Orleans, LA

                Alfred Wettermark High School, Boyce, LA

                Cohn High School, Port Allen, LA

                Combs-McIntyre High School, Oak Grove, LA

                Sevier High School, Ferriday, LA

                Washington High School, Lake Charles, LA


                Milam Street Trade School, Shreveport, LA

                Grand Avenue High School, DeQuincy, LA

                Park Avenue High School( Willow Street High School),  Franklin, LA

Religious Icons

                Notre Dame High School, Shreveport LA

                Sacred Heart High School, Lake Charles, LA

                All Saints High School, Pelican, LA

                Holy Rosary Institute, Lafayette, LA

                St. Matthews High School, Natchitoches, LA

                St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, LA

                St. James High School, Alexandria, LA

                St. Edwards High School, New Iberia, LA

                St. Lucy High School, Houma, LA

                St. Mary’s Academy, New Orleans, LA

Little Flower Academy, Monroe, LA

St. Jude Catholic School, Diamond, LA

Holy Ghost High School, Opelousas, LA

Immaculate Conception high School, Melville, LA

Community Consolidation Movements

                Union High School, Shreveport, LA

                Union Central High School, Columbia, LA

                Jonesville Consolidated High School, Jonesville, LA

Union High School, Mer Rouge, LA

Violet consolidated High School, Violet, LA

Central Consolidated High School, Dubberly, LA


Wisner Gilbert High School, Wisner, LA

U. S. President

                McKinley High School, Baton Rouge, LA

                Lincoln High School, Morrow, LA

                Lincoln High School, Marrero, LA

Natural Disaster

                Audrey Memorial High School


                Logansport Rosenwald High School, Logansport, LA

                Rosenwald High School, New Roads, LA

                Peabody High School, Alexandria, LA

                Covington Rosenwald High School, Covington, LA

                Tensas Rosenwald High School, St, Joseph, LA

Parish Ward

                Second Ward High School, Gloster, LA

                Fifth Ward High School, Reserve, LA

                Second Ward High School, Edgard, LA

State Capitol

                Capitol High School, Baton Rouge, LA

Region of the Parish

                Northwestern High School, Zachary, LA

                East High School, Clinton, LA

                West High School, Jackson, LA

                East Livingston High School, Albany, LA

                West Livingston High School, Denham Springs, LA

                Southwest Rapides High School, Glenmora, LA

                Westside High School, Amite, LA

                East Side High School, Farmerville, LA

West Side High School, Lillie, LA


                Southern University Laboratory High School, Baton Rouge, LA

                Grambling Preparatory High School, Ruston, LA

                Xavier Preparatory High School, New Orleans, LA

Local Industrial and Agricultural Riches

                Good Pine High School, Jena, LA

                Richwood High School, Monroe, LA

                Cypress Grove High School, Lutcher, LA

                Greenville Park High School, Hammond, LA

                Pinecrest High School, Winnfield, LA

School Superintendent

                John S. Slocum High School, Pineville, LA

Native American

                Chahta- Ima High School, Lacombe, LA

Uncategorized at this writing

                Martin High School, Sicily Island, LA

                Adam Carlson High School, St. Martinville, LA

                Sumpter Williams High School, Morgan City, LA

                Vernon High School, Mount Hermon, LA

                Magnolia Training School, Pioneer, LA

                William W. Stewart High School, Basile, LA

                Jasper Henderson High School, Chatham, LA

                Paul Breaux High School, Lafayette, LA

                Reuben McCall High School, Tallulah, LA

Richardson High School, West Monroe, LA

Carter C. Raymond High School, LeCompte, LA

Rhymes High School, Start, LA

The name of the school formed the framework for the aspirations of the individual communities from which the high school sprang. The high school mascot was a source of pride and students would readily say they were a Bulldog, Lion, Hornet, etc. Students would proudly shout out their school mascot as the “Battle Cry” before, during and following competitive athletic and academic events.

Mascots were as diverse as the human imagination. Space Explorers, ferocious animals such as Lions, Tigers, Bears, Cougars, and Panthers were very popular. Wild Hogs, Badgers, Gophers, Wildcats, Reptiles, Rattlers, and Cobras were chosen as fierce mascots. Birds of prey (Eagles, Falcons, and Hawks) were well represented. Imaginary birds such as the Firebird made their appearance. Other colorful imaginary creatures like Dragons, Devils, and Demons, were chosen as school mascots. Domestic animals such as Broncos, Rams, Bulldogs, Blood Hounds and War Horses were a source of pride. Buccaneers and pirates added to the diversity of mascot choices. Lightning Streaks, and Green Hornets were just as imaginary and fearsome. Insects such as Yellow Jackets and Hornets were widely dispersed across the state.  Marine creatures (Sharks) made an appearance as a high school mascot. Natural phenomena like Blue Waves were chosen, too. One school’s mascot (Hurricanes) was derived from a natural disaster in Louisiana in 1957. Ancient history was not forgotten as Trojans and Spartans were chosen as mascots. The Middle Ages were represented with Knights and Crusaders. Finally, the meekest of mascots (The Dove) a symbol of peace appeared. The Dove is symbolically the final word for the time period and sums the demise of African American high schools and its associated negative impact upon the African American communities. Peace.

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