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Wed, 09.01.1926

The Phoenix Colored High School Opens

Phoenix Colored H.S. Class of 1948

*The opening of Phoenix Colored H. S. in 1926 is celebrated on this date.

Segregation was made legal in the Arizona Territory in 1909.  The Governor (at the time) Joseph Kibbey opposed the measure, but the legislature overrode his veto.  In 1910, the Phoenix School Board enacted a segregation policy. Also, statehood in 1912 brought with it-increased segregation to the detriment of Blacks.

Previously, Arizona had provided prosperity, as well as an escape from Southern racism and lynching.  However, they still faced discrimination, racial harassment, and segregation. As more African American students began to attend school at the Phoenix Union High School, they were segregated to the "colored department" which held its classes in the basement.

But in 1926, Phoenix Colored High School opened its doors for African American students from all around the valley. It was renamed George Washington Carver H. S. in 1943. Carver school for Blacks only closed in 1954 as nearly half a century of school segregation ground to a halt in Arizona. The Phoenix Monarchs Alumni Association (PMAA) planned to turn the (old) school into an African American Cultural Center and Museum. The Phoenix Union High School District trustees voted in December 1994 to sell the school to the PMAA for $200,000.

Blacks across the nation are buying formerly segregated schools for cultural purposes.  In Tucson, the Dunbar Coalition is buying Dunbar Elementary School.

The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York
ISBN 0-8160-3289-0

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