Adam Carlson High School History
Adam Carlson was born on March 1, 1876 in St. Martinville, Louisiana. Carlson, the son of Jacob Carlson and Louise Williams and the eldest of five children, received his first training through private tutoring and later enrolled in Gilbert Academy in Baldwin, Louisiana. His formal education ended when his father died in 1892 and he had to discontinue his education in order to help support his family. However, he continued to study and read at home. During this time, he was a barber, a grocer and an insurance agent.
Carlson rose from agent to state superintendent of one of the largest Black owned insurance companies in Louisiana. He married Winnie James in 1896 and had five children before she died in 1918. Although his marriage to Regina Thibodeaux in 1920 helped in the raising and caring of his children, he was concerned about their education as they approached high school age with no high school available in the St. Martinville area. Students had to commute to New Iberia in order to pursue higher education status in the parish.
Carlson became active in local efforts to improve educational opportunities by serving on committees that asked for nine months of school instead of five months for the Black children in St. Martinville. He asked for more teachers so that school could be conducted all day, found a building to provide housing for teachers, and for more classrooms until a new school could be built. He was instrumental in helping establish a high school for black students in St. Martinville. His persistence continued until his death in 1940 and he was honored for those efforts when the first Black public high school was built. That school was named after Adam Carlson.