Kirk Clayton was a rare sprinter. We were fortunate to witness an individual who was committed to achievement, both, on the track and off the track. Dr. Kirk Clayton persevered and one of his enduring accomplishments was the “spark” to ignite this website. The inquisitive Dr. Clayton asked a question when he was enshrined into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. Where are the other athletes from the Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Association (L.I.A.L.O.)? He answered the question by exclaiming, “I was not the only one. There were other great athletes”.
Sometimes, misfortune for others create opportunities. A class ring lost by a 1966 graduate of Greenville Park High School provided the opportunity for this site to post its first high school ring with the potential of reuniting its owner with his property. The contact page can be utilized to facilitate recovery. The ring is well preserved and it is an excellent sample of high school rings of the era.
Recognition of achievement was made by Southern University of New Orleans in 1968 for athletic accomplishments for schools in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Coaches were recognized as well. This program can be found in the History Section of Significant Notes on the Menu Bar.
Coach Turner began his teaching and coaching careers at Princeton High in Princeton, Louisiana. He continued his coaching and teaching careers at the following schools: C. H. Irion High School in Benton, Louisiana, Herndon High School in Belcher, Louisiana, Bethune Jr.- Sr. High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, and concluded his career at Midway Jr. High School in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Nineteenth Century was marked by a commitment by Baptists in education of the African American. Institutions and people who were some of the forerunners in preparing educators for a gigantic task of educating masses of African Americans is presented. They can be considered as part of the pillars of African American education.
Coach Wilbur Flanagan: The Tiger A tiger does not change its stripes, however, no one said a tiger never changes its colors. Coach Flanagan performed as a blue and white tiger at DeSoto High School, a black and gold tiger at Grambling State University and a blue and white tiger at Charles H. Brown High School. All of these tigers were fierce competitors and champions by their deeds. Regardless of their colors, the stripes remained and the legacy did not change. Finally, Grrrrr! Let’s listen to Coach Flanagan.
The Panther 1968
Forty years of progress after their initial year book, the McKinley Senior High School Panthers headlined, again. In the “Panther” 1968 edition, the Panthers’ prowess was demonstrated by their excellence in basketball as L. I. A. L. O. Champions in 1967. Together, the L.I.A.L.O. Championships in Track and Field and basketball resided in south Baton Rouge in 1967. A broad range of clubs was available for student involvement in school activities. Administrative, faculty and student pictures are available to summon memories of a prior era in McKinley’s existence. The “Big M” as they often refer to themselves was on the prowl.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the mass closure of the African American high schools in Louisiana. Prior to 1970 there were approximately one hundred eighty-five high schools throughout the state and their classification ranged from single A to triple AAA. Their affiliations extended through the various religious denominations in the beginning to the publicly funded schools near the termination of the era of the African American high school. All has not been lost since 1970. Approximately fifteen historically African American High Schools presently exist.
This year marks the third anniversary of AfricanAmericanHighSchoolsinLouisianaBefore1970.com. This website expanded from an idea to preserve the history of the LIALO to exceeding 30,000 pages of information that would otherwise be found at our local waste disposal sites. We are preserving this information which includes a wide array of sources and types: histories of school’s origin, mascots, alma maters, historical markers, coaches, yearbooks, class histories, newspaper articles, state department records, class roles for entire schools and published books.
A noteworthy effort, History of Central Colored High School, 1917 to 1949, the ten-year effort of Mrs. Gwendolyn Deloris Swinton, was placed on the site under the Central Colored High School banner. The book is a collection of information of this institution that paved the way for African American students in much of Caddo Parish and northwestern Louisiana corridor for thirty years. The time of its existence was short-lived, however, the Phoenix, Booker T. Washington High School rose from the ashes. The old Central Colored High School building stands today as a testament to its legacy. Mrs. Swinton’s book documents how education for the African American high school student was meant to be. There was a dedicated and well-educated faculty and a hungry community striving to succeed in life. The graduates subsequently dispersed throughout the world proud to be from the school and became aspirational leaders in the world community. The youngest graduates are now older than eighty-eight years old and only a few are alive today. We must not forget their experiences and their contributions to our existence. Interestingly, after another twenty years the youngest graduates of an African American high school from the era before 1970 will be eighty-eight years old. There will be few of us alive at this time in the future and we, too, desire to be remembered.
As the United States approached the end of World War II, there were nearly 60 African American high schools scattered throughout the state of Louisiana. These high schools had the underpinnings of “Training School” and “Colored School” attached to their names. As times passed “Training School” was removed from most schools and all schools removed “Colored” from their names. After 1950 most of the new names of African American high schools were for local individuals who made significant contributions to their communities or the names of prominent educators, politicians and philanthropists on the national scene such as Joseph S. Clark, Charles P. Adams, Lord Beaconfield Landry, Booker T. Washington, Mary McCleod Bethune, George Washington Carver, President William McKinley, Julius Rosenwald and Carter G. Woodson. The list of names of schools and their namesake is quite extensive.
The Second Louisiana All-State High School Biographical Annual Review lists all of the African American high schools existing in Louisiana in 1944. This almost coincided with the termination of World War II. These schools were active in preparing the African American community for a period when each community would have its own school. This period began in the 1950’s when over 200 high schools were constructed and extended to the late 1960’s when most of the African American high schools were closed.
Southern University is significant in Louisiana history because it provided an avenue of higher education attainment for many African Americans who would not have had the opportunity due to segregation of the races. The State Legislative Act 87 incorporated the institution. Its doors opened in March 7, 1881 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The University existed there until Legislative Act 118 closed the New Orleans location and established a new Campus on Scott’s Bluff in Baton Rouge. The original charter was retained.
The March 9, 1965 edition of the Southern University Digest was dedicated to the history of Southern University after its move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1914. An interesting editorial questioned the exclusion of thirty-years from its existence. The entire newspaper was presented to let the reader get a situational glimpse of the facilities, the Vietnam-era times and our thoughts at that time.
Interestingly, Southern University provided the inspiration for competition for African American High Schools in the state. The Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Association (LIALO, LIALA) was established in 1928 to bridge the gap for African American students in secondary schools so their success could be realized. The Significant Notes, History Section on this website contains a Southern University Digest publication, March 9, 1965, Number 11. A detailed history of Southern University can be found.