Carver High School (Phoenix, Arizona)

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George Washington Carver High School
Phoenix Union Colored High School
Carver High School (Phoenix, Arizona) is located in Arizona
Carver High School (Phoenix, Arizona)
Carver High School (Phoenix, Arizona) is located in the US
Carver High School (Phoenix, Arizona)
Location 415 E. Grant St., Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°26′26″N 112°04′05″W / 33.440557°N 112.068160°W / 33.440557; -112.068160Coordinates: 33°26′26″N 112°04′05″W / 33.440557°N 112.068160°W / 33.440557; -112.068160
Area 4.9 acres (2.0 ha)
Built 1926
Architect Pierson & Johnson
Architectural style 20th Century Commercial
NRHP reference # 91000543[1]
Added to NRHP May 2, 1991

Carver High School (Full name George Washington Carver High School,[2] formerly known as Phoenix Union Colored High School[2]) was a segregated high school in Phoenix, Arizona.

The school's building was the only one ever built exclusively to serve African American high school students in Arizona.[3]

Historic site[edit]

The school was built on the site of a former four-acre landfill, and was surrounded by warehouses.[2] Students who attended classes at the school said the school was built in between the two African American communities south of Downtown Phoenix at the time, and was strategically placed to serve as many African American students as possible.[2]

The site of the school was purchased for $10,500 in 1925.[4] There were initial protests to the location, due to its proximity to industrial and contaminated area.[5] Even the school board admitted at the time that the location will require "watchmen to protect children going to and from school", and that physicians admit the location is a "hot bed and nucleus of virulent contagious diseases".[4]

The school was built by general contractors Pierson & Johnson, who submitted a bid of $110,000.[4] The school was remodeled and enlarged in 1948, which included the building of new shop facilities, as well as a 1,000 seat stadium.[4]

After the school's closure, school grounds were converted into office and storage space.[2][5][4]

The school building, along with the land it sits on, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.[1][6]

The school grounds were purchased by the Phoenix Monarchs Alumni Association, a group of Carver High alumni, in 1996.[7] The school's alumni collected $200,000, including a grant by the city's Parks and Recreation Board, to buy the building.[8] Work began in 2001 to convert the site into a community cultural center and art gallery, in a partnership with the City of Phoenix which involved several million dollars of Phoenix bond funding, along with other grants.[5][7]

A report by Phoenix NPR station KJZZ noted that the school campus could have been demolished, had efforts to save it fail to materialize.[2]

Currently, the former school's main building and shop building still exist.[4], While the school's football field has been paved over[8], the nearby grandstand still exists.[4]

The campus was added to the Phoenix Historic Property Register, after the Phoenix City Council approved the addition in March 2017.[9][10] This will protect the school campus from demolition, as well as making the site eligible for city incentives to help with rehabilitation.[9]

School[edit]

George Washington Carver High School
P-Phoenix Union Colored High School-1926.jpg
Information
Former name Phoenix Union Colored High School (1926-1943)
Type Public, segregated
Established 13 September 1926 (1926-09-13)[11]
Closed 1954[11]
Enrollment 406 (1954[12])
Mascot Monarchs[12]

The school opened in 1926.[11] According to Phoenix Union High School District, the school was built to accommodate the district's African American population.[11] Many contemporary sources, however, state that the school was built to segregate African American high school students.[2][5][13]

The school was the only legally segregated high school in Phoenix,[2] and it opened following anti-African American sentiments that increased, following World War I.[5]

While segregation of elementary schools in Arizona was mandated, segregation of high schools was never required under Arizona law.[5][14]

Carver High had its roots in the "Department for Colored Students" that was established at a rear room of Phoenix Union High School's Commercial Building in 1918, with one teacher.[4] The school's African American students were then housed in two small cottages that was separated from the PUHS campus by an irrigation ditch.,[4] and later housed the students at a house on 9th Street and Jefferson.[4]

The school's final location was dedicated on September 13, 1926, and opened for classes the following day.[4]

The school was renamed after George Washington Carver in 1943,[2] and it was closed in 1954,[11] a year after a judge at the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled school segregation in Phoenix high schools was unconstitutional, in the case Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High Schools and Junior College District.[5][15]

To this day, Phoenix Union High School District's website makes few references to the school's segregated past, merely stating that the school closed, following integration.[11]

Education[edit]

The school was known for its strong academics and athletic programs, despite having deficient resources.[5] Students of the school also remember that many of the teachers there held Master's degrees, at a time when few did.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A basketball game between the team at Carver High and a team comprising of mostly Mexican and Mexican American teenagers at Miami High School in Miami, Arizona was the subject of the play The Mighty Vandals, which was shown at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix and Miami High School.[2][16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Arroyo Rodriguez, Nadine (18 October 2013). "Did You Know: George Washington Carver High School Has Rich History". KJZZ-FM. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  3. ^ African American Historic Places. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1994. p. 108. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Staff Report: Z-72-16-8" (PDF). City of Phoenix. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Goth, Brenna (25 January 2017). "Phoenix school that was segregated envisioned as 'a place you can talk the truth'". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "History". George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Sextin, Connie (29 February 2008). "Carver museum embodies struggles, triumphs of city's Blacks". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 30 November 2017. Former Phoenix City Councilman Calvin Goode, a Carver alumnus, helped to bring about the museum. 
  8. ^ a b Sterling, Terry Greene (30 May 1996). "Old-School Ways". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 18 January 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Estes, Christina (17 March 2017). "Phoenix School Built For African-Americans Gains Historic Landmark Status". KJZZ-FM. Retrieved 3 December 2017. 
  10. ^ "Phoenix Historic Property Register" (PDF). City of Phoenix Planning & Development Department. May 2017. p. 4. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "District Information / History". Phoenix Union High School District. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "Arizona High School Enrollment Figures (1912-2005)" (PDF). aiaonline.org. 
  13. ^ "Historic Segregated High School in Downtown Phoenix is in Desperate Need of Repair". [[KASW-TV|]]. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2018. 
  14. ^ Finn, Elizabeth (July 1998). "The Struggle for Civil Rights in Arizona". State Bar of Arizona. Retrieved 3 December 2017. At mid-century, state law mandated segregation in the elementary schools but made it optional in the high schools. 
  15. ^ "Frederick C. Struckmeyer". Arizona Legal Legacies Project. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 
  16. ^ Gross, Linda (17 October 2013). "The play "The Mighty Vandals" recalls the '51 Championship, and comes to Miami Oct. 26-27". Globe Miami Times. Retrieved 30 November 2017. 

External links[edit]