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Thu, 10.05.1882

I. M. Terrell High School (Texas) Opens

I. M. Terell Yearbook Image

*The opening of I.M Terrell High School is celebrated on this date in 1882. This was a Fort Worth, Texas, secondary school during the Jim Crow era. It was the city's first Black school.

Its original name was the East Ninth Street Colored School. Isaiah Milligan Terrell became its Principal and Superintendent of Fort Worth Colored Schools in 1890. 1906 the school moved to East Twelfth and Steadman Streets and was renamed North Side Colored School No. 11. A new school building opened in 1910, with Terrell as principal. In 1915, Terrell left the school.

In honor of the former principal, the school was renamed I.M Terrell High School in 1921. Due to a lack of funding, the school lacked a gymnasium, cafeteria, and library during its early years. The building also had limited rooms for teaching and used textbooks handed down from nearby white schools. Lillian Jones Horace, B. A teacher and librarian started the school's first library. In 1938, the school moved to a former white elementary school at 1411 East Eighteenth Street in the Baptist Hill neighborhood. The building was expanded as part of a Works Progress Administration project. The school's former location became an elementary and junior high school.

In 1940, the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for Negroes (ACSSN) selected I.M. Terrell High School to participate as an experimental site in the Secondary School Study (also known as the Black High School Study). The study, funded by the General Education Board, sought to include Black teachers in developing progressive education. According to the study, by the 1940s, the school had 26 faculty members serving 900 students in grades 9 through 11. In addition to serving students in Fort Worth, the school drew students from areas outside the city where Black children could not attend school.

I.M. Terrell High School closed in 1973 during the American racial integration of Fort Worth's schools. The building reopened as an elementary school in 1998. After extensive remodeling and expansion, it is now the home of the I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA. The school building lies within the Butler Place Historic District B.

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