Crispus Attucks High School
Front and southern side of the school
|Location:||1140 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA|
|Architect:||Harrison & Turnock; Brown & Mick|
|Architectural style:||Collegiate Gothic/Tudor Revival|
|Added to NRHP:||January 04, 1989|
Crispus Attucks High School of Indianapolis Public Schools in Indianapolis, in the U.S. state of Indiana is named for Crispus Attucks (c.1723–March 5, 1770), a black protestor killed at the Boston Massacre. He was perhaps the first American to fall during the American Revolutionary War, and as such, serves as an inspiration to all Americans. Built at a location northwest of downtown Indianapolis, Crispus Attucks was the only high school in Indianapolis designated specifically for African-Americans; after its construction blacks were not permitted to attend any other public high school in the city until integration of the schools became the law of the land.
Built northwest of downtown Indianapolis, Crispus Attucks was the only all-black high school in Indianapolis. White residents of the city, not wanting their children to attend an integrated high school, designated a new school be built, specifically for African-American students. Teenagers who were enrolled at other city high schools such as Arsenal Technical, Washington, and Shortridge were removed from those schools and forced to enroll at Crispus Attucks. It was thought, at the time, that students would receive a 'separate but equal' education; but the students at Attucks were gifted with excellent teachers. While most other high schools had teachers armed with an undergraduate Bachelor's Degree, all of the teachers at Attucks had at least a Master's degree and some a Ph.D.
An all-black school had to have all black teachers, and of those teachers hired for this new school, they came well-educated. While black students were allowed to attend colleges and universities, they were not yet allowed to teach there. Schools of higher learning did not admit blacks to their faculties. That left a large group of over-qualifed teachers forced to teach at the high-school level. In one's estimation, that allowed students to graduate from high school with some college-level knowledge.
In 1955, the school's basketball team, led by future professional star and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, gained fame by winning the Indiana state championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Robertson led Crispus Attucks to another championship in 1956, as it was the first Indiana high school team to complete a season undefeated.
Attucks began admitting white students in 1967. In 1981, the school was threatened with closure due to rapidly declining enrollment within Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). Instead, the school was converted from a high school to a junior high school in 1986, then to a middle school in 1993, and then back to a high school in 2006.
In 2006, Superintendent Eugene White announced the formation of "The Medical Magnet at Crispus Attucks," thus changing the school from a middle school to a medical preparatory 6–12 high school. This is partially because of the school's proximity to the campus of Indiana University School of Medicine and the associated hospitals. The change was made by adding one grade each year. The first class graduated in 2010. The first class to go through the medical magnet will graduate in 2013.
Crispus Attucks was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
In addition to Robertson and many others of note, alumni of Crispus Attucks High School include composer David Baker, dramatic soprano Angela Brown, member of the United States House of Representatives Julia Carson, writer Janet Langhart-Cohen, and all members of the rhythm and blues "doo-wop" band The Counts, Rodney Stepp of the Spinners, Wes Montgomery (guitar), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), James Spaulding, and trombonist J. J. Johnson, all greats of the jazz world.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15.
- "Crispus Attucks High School". National Park Service. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Ford, Lynn (February 1, 2001). "Library Factfiles - Crispus Attucks High School". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
- Indianapolis, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Official site
- Crispus Attucks Museum Collection - yearbooks (1928-1986), newspapers, and graduation programs
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