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Sat, 05.09.1891

Douglass H. S. (Oklahoma City) Opens

*Frederick A. Douglass High School is celebrated on this date in 1891.  It was a public high school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and began as a segregated school.

The Frederick A. Douglass School initially called the Colored School, opened in Oklahoma City in 1898 between Robinson and Harvey Avenues on California Street. The original school burned and was relocated. In 1934, the school moved again. Known as the Douglass Junior-Senior High School, it was located at 600 North High Street. Charles O. Rogers served as principal from 1935 to 1940 and was replaced by Frederick Douglass Moon.  The school is known for its role in serving Black students in the state of Oklahoma. It has produced a variety of academic researchers and civic leaders and military figures.  

Working from 1940 to 1961 at the High School, he was elected to the Oklahoma City Board of Education in 1972 and served as its first Black president in 1974. It is also known for its music program and the teacher, Zelia Breaux, who created the program that helped produce several notable musicians.  Breaux taught music from 1918 to 1948, organizing the first junior high school band in the negro schools of Oklahoma. Her students included Charlie Christian, Jimmy Rushing, and trumpet player-turned-writer Ralph Ellison.  In the 1940s, she directed the Douglass High School chorus, and the band became nationally known.   

Students from the school protested segregation and conducted sit-ins at segregated Oklahoma City businesses.  By 1952, the student body had grown substantially, experiencing a 40% growth rate in enrollment between 1945 and 1952. Moon met with black leaders and the Oklahoma City School Board to plead for a new school. On January 2, 1953, a groundbreaking ceremony was attended by dignitaries and leaders from the black community.  The new school was built on the site of the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds at Northeast 10th Street and Eastern Avenue. The old school building, vacated in 1954, became the site of the F. D. Moon Junior High School, later renamed the Page-Woodson School, which operated until 1994 and in 2017 was redeveloped into apartments and a community center.  

The new Douglass High School opened in September 1954 amid uncertainty surrounding the recent decision to desegregate schools by the U. S. Supreme Court. The dedication ceremony for the new school, the first black senior high school in Oklahoma City, was held on May 1, 1955. The school was relocated in 2006 to a new facility at 900 N. Martin Luther King Avenue.  The Trojans are the school's mascot. The new school building was built in 2006. The school song is "Rise up O Douglassites!". It serves the 7th to 12th grades. The school colors are black and orange.  According to US News, in 2018, the school has about 405 students; 97 percent are nonwhite, college readiness is about 7 percent, and slightly less than half are proficient in reading and math. About a quarter take Advanced Placement (AP) exams.  

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