Central High School (Louisville, Kentucky)
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|Central High school|
|Motto||"Simply the Best"|
|School district||Jefferson County Public Schools|
|Number of students||1,200|
|Color(s)||Gold █ and
|Website||Central High School|
Until 1956, Louisville Central High School was the only public high school in the city for African Americans. The United States Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in public schools in 1954 in the famous Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas case. In 1956, Louisville public schools desegregated. Central, however, has a long and distinguished history. According to encyclopedists Aubespin, Clay, and Hudson: "Central High School opened in October, 1873 at Sixth and Kentucky". The school would have four other locations: Ninth and Magazine, Ninth and Chestnut, Eighth and Chestnut, and its current location of Eleventh and Chestnut Streets since 1952. The school was named Central Colored High School in 1892 and John Maxwell was its first principal.
Specializing in preparing students for professional careers, Central offers many magnet programs. As an all-magnet school, it has no home district, instead it brings in students from throughout the Jefferson County Public School System.
Not only has Louisville Central's 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 football team become 3A champions, their basketball team won 2008's regional basketball championship and was one of two schools in the county attending the sweet sixteen games. Their band, featuring the "Yellow Jacket Drumline", "The Flag Girls" and the "Stingettes" majorette dance team, has become one of the most talented musical ensembles in the region; it is also the first in the county to incorporate majorettes.
Louisville Central High School and the rest of the Louisville school system played a part in both integration efforts and the Cold War. In 1957, as many around the world began to take notice of racial problems within the United States, the United States Information Agency produced promotional materials touting "The Louisville Story" as an example of peaceful integration.
In the 1950s, Central High School also won three national basketball high school championships. In 1983, Central High School won the WAVE-TV's High Q Championship. In 2007, when Central won the 3A State Football Championship, Head Coach Ty Scroggins became the first African-American high school coach in Kentucky history to win a state football championship. On December 12, 2008, Central's football team repeated the feat of winning the 3A State Championship, becoming the first Louisville public high school to do so in 44 years. In 2008, Central was listed by U.S. News and World Report as one of America's best high schools.
In 2009, the Central High School basketball team (which started 0-8) repeated as regional basketball champions and advanced to the sweet sixteen championship game against Holmes High School. Central also swept the boys' and girls' 2-A Track & Field Regional Championship titles.
In 2010 Central made history by beating the Belfry Pirates to win the 3A Conference Championship. This is there 3rd championship in four seasons.
In 2011 Central again made history by beating Phillip Haywood's' Belfry Pirates in the KHSAA 3A State Championship. This was their 4th Championship in five seasons.
In December 2012 for the 3rd consecutive year Central High School claimed the KHSAA 3A State Championship. They defeated the Belfry Pirates with a score of 12-6. This was their 5th championship in 6 seasons.
Central High School is located at 1130 W. Chestnut Street, and the principal is Mr. Raymond Green.
Magnet programs offered
The Law and Government magnet is the only program like it in the JCPS school system. It is directed by Joe Gutmann. He worked as an Assistant Commonwealth attorney for more than 20 years before joining the Central staff. He has been at Central for 11 years as of the 2012-13 school year. The Law & Government Magnet has a signature partnership with the University of Louisville and Louisville Bar Association.
Racial preference controversy
Until 2000, all high schools in Jefferson County were required to maintain a percentage of African-American students between 15 and 50%. In 2000, a group of black parents sued after their children were denied admission to Central High School. As a result, US District Judge John Heyburn II struck down the use of race-conscious school assignment procedures for Jefferson County magnet and traditional schools such as Central.
Notable alumni and faculty
- Muhammad Ali, World Heavyweight Champion and boxing legend
- Elmer Lucille Allen, ceramic artist and first African-American chemist at Brown-Forman
- Sam Gilliam, artist
- Lyman T. Johnson, integrated University of Kentucky in 1948
- Lenny Lyles, 11-season NFL player, mostly with the Baltimore Colts
- Bob Miller, NBA basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs
- Darryl Owens, Kentucky State Representative
- Greg Page, former WBA Heavyweight champion
- Corey Peters, NFL player with the Atlanta Falcons
- Maurice Rabb, Jr.
- D'Angelo Russell, NBA player with the Los Angeles Lakers, playing college ball for Ohio State
- C. J. Spillman, NFL player with the Dallas Cowboys
- Aubespin, Mervin, Kenneth Clay, and J. Blaine Hudson. Two Centuries of Black Louisville. Louisville: Butler Books, 2011.
- Tilford-Weathers, Thelma Cayne. A History of Louisville Central High School Louisville, KY: 1982.
- Dudziak, Mary L., The Louisville Story: Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).