Booker T. Washington High School (Memphis, Tennessee)
|Booker T. Washington High School|
|715 South Lauderdale Street
|Motto||We're tops! We lead and others follow.|
|School district||Memphis City Schools|
Eastern facade with main entrance from South Lauderdale Street
Booker T. Washington High School (also known as BTW) is a public secondary school located in South Memphis. Part of the Memphis City Schools, it serves grades 9-12. The school gained national attention when U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the school's 2011 commencement address as a reward for winning the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge.
The school was founded as the Clay Street School in 1873 and was among the first public high schools for African Americans in Memphis. It was renamed Kortrecht High School in 1891. In 1926 a new building was constructed and the school was renamed in honor of American educator and civil rights leader Booker T. Washington. Further expansions were completed in the years since, including the Blair T. Hunt Gymnasium, dedicated in 1950.
Race to the Top
The school entered and won the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, a competition that "invites public high schools across the country to demonstrate how their school best prepares [students] for college and a career." Among the required application materials were student essays and videos that demonstrated the school's innovation in education. The accomplishments of the school included increasing graduation rates from 55% in 2007 to 82% in 2010 through the use of same-gender freshman classrooms and increased teacher effectiveness. BTW also suffered from and overcame high teen pregnancy and violence rates. The school beat out more than 450 other applicant schools, and as a reward for this achievement, President Barack Obama delivered the school's 2011 commencement speech.
- The Bar-Kays - Popular Memphis, Tennessee soul, R&B, and funk band formed in 1966.
- Marion Barry - Former mayor of Washington, D.C.
- Lucie Campbell - Evangelist and songwriter
- W. W. Herenton - First African American mayor of Memphis
- Benjamin Hooks - American civil rights leader and executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- Verdell Mathis - Negro League baseball player
- Maxine Smith - Academic, civil rights activist, and school board official.
- Judge Russell B. Sugarmon, Jr. - Civil rights attorney and Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
- Fred Valentine - Major League Baseball outfielder 
- Lorenzen Wright - Professional Basketball Player
- Booker T. Jones - American musician and leader of Booker T & The MGs
- Maurice White - founder of soul & RB hitmakers Earth, Wind and Fire
- David Porter (musician) - Stax Records songwriter of many '60s and '70s hits, including Soul Man for Sam & Dave
- Rufus Thomas - Stax Records writer and performer
- Flock, Elizabeth (May 17, 2011). "Barack Obama gives keynote address at Memphis high school, views flood damage, and meets NCAA champs". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Early Black Education in Memphis". Booker T. Washington Class of 1966. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "Kortrecht High School Historic Items and Photos". memphistechhigh.com. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Kuhnhenn, Jim (May 17, 2011). "Obama hails high school graduates in Memphis". Associated Press. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "BOOKER T. WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL: THROUGH THE YEARS". The Commercial Appeal. Scripps Interactive Newspaper Group. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge". White House. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Holland, Sally. "President visits Memphis High School graduation". CNN.com. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- Holland, Sally (May 9, 2011). "3 high schools vie to get Obama for commencement". CNN.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "President Obama at Booker T. Washington High: Commencement Challenge Winners". The White House Blog. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Brisbane, Arthur S. (April 26, 1987). "Marion Barry Just Wants to Be Loved". The Washington Post. p. W20. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "Verdell Mathis". Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Maxine A. Smith NAACP Collection". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
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