“Not the Only One”, Legacy of Dr. Kirk Clayton

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”.

In his honor this webpage displays some of his high school accomplishments.

Greenville Park High School Class Ring, J. E.

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.

Coach Huey P. Turner, Bethune High School, Shreveport, LA

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. 

Coach Wilbur H. Flanagan, Charles H, Brown High School, Springhill, LA

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.

Jesse B. Bilberry, the Student, The Principal

Principal Jesse Bilberry was a student at Union Parish Training School who realized a very successful career as an administrator at Tensas Rosenwald High School. He idolized his father and followed in his footsteps as a principal. In a two-part interview series, Principal Bilberry discusses his life, his path toward molding the character and the intellect of young African Americans who became productive citizens of the United States. These former students regularly meet in various cities throughout the United States as alumni of Tensas Rosenwald High School. This proud tradition is exemplary of gratitude to a legendary figure in their lives, Principal Jessie Bilberry.

The Student
The Principal

McKinley High School, The Panther 1968

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.

S. O. S.

This website, http://www.AfricanAmericanHighSchoolsinLouisianaBefore1970.com was established as an urgent effort to obtain the last information about the African American high school experience during a time when resources were minimal and the need was maximal. This website has an oddly long name , however, the name is emblematic and explanatory about its contents. This name is not an attempt to lessen the efforts of our progeny. It is an effort to let everyone know how we arrived at our current station and to establish a continuity with our past. We earned it.

We have catalogued all of the high schools and presently we are aware of the existence of one hundred-eighty five secondary schools. We have received a great response and we have received very many thanks and much praise for our efforts. There are approximately thirty five high schools from which we cannot get information or we do not know an individual who can lead us to someone or a group who can assist us in obtaining information. We need help from everyone.

The school mascots are listed below.

Rhymes High School

Cordelia Matthews Washington High School, Thibodaux, Louisiana

C. M. Washington High School was the latest addition to the website. A slight twist was encountered in its naming and it persists until today but at a lesser level from the high school. Most training schools had parish designations in their names. Mrs. Cordelia Matthews Washington was well respected in her community and in local political circles. The school was named in her honor and also the African American community protested so the name could endure into the future. A history of the school and pictures of activities are included to mark Mrs. Washington’s dream for education.