Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

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Douglas Anderson School of the Arts
Dasota logo.jpg
2445 San Diego Road


Coordinates30°18′01″N 81°38′20″W / 30.300271°N 81.638757°W / 30.300271; -81.638757Coordinates: 30°18′01″N 81°38′20″W / 30.300271°N 81.638757°W / 30.300271; -81.638757
TypePublic arts high school
Motto"Where arts and academics meet in excellence"
School districtDuval County Public Schools
PrincipalMelanie Hammer
Enrollment1,202[1] (2015-16)
Color(s)Black and White         

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (commonly known as "DA" or "DASOTA") is a magnet high school in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. The school opened in 1922 as a primary school specifically for African American students. The school is named after local civil rights activist, Douglas Anderson. In 1985, the school was renovated into a magnet high school specializing in performing, visual and language arts.[2] Over the years, the school has accomplished many achievements including becoming a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence[3] and receiving numerous awards from the United States Department of Education, International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.[4]

In December 2009, the school became a Florida Heritage Landmark by the Bureau of Historical Preservation. The ceremony was attended by students and school officials, Anderson's family and the first graduates of the school from 1959.[5]


In 1922, the Duval County Board of Public Instruction opened South Jacksonville School #107, the only public school on the south side of Jacksonville for African-American children in grades one through nine. Spearheading the building of this school were black community leaders Douglas Anderson (1884-1936) and W.R. Thorpe (1893-1967). Anderson, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, began the first free school bus transportation service for the school and was president of the Parent-Teachers association. In 1945, the school board re-named the school the Douglas Anderson School. It became a high school in 1955 and quickly became an educational and cultural center for African-Americans from communities all over southeastern Duval County. Community involvement was the strength of the school. Even though high school enrollment never exceeded 400-500 students, they achieved prominence in academics, athletics, and the arts far beyond their numbers. Douglas Anderson School closed in 1968 as a result of school desegregation. Afterward, it served as a campus for Florida Junior College, and a 7th grade center. It re-opened in 1985 as the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.[6]

— Florida Heritage Marker

Opening in 1922 as The South Jacksonville Grammar School for grades 1—9. The school was primarily attended by African American students, the only school in the region during that time. In 1945, the school name changed to Douglas Anderson School. During the 1950s, the school morphed into a high school with the mascot of "Fiery Dragons" and in 1959, the school saw its first graduating class in 1959 with a commencement speech given by Benjamin E. Mays. During the 1960s, the school closed briefly and reopened in 1968 as a campus for Florida Junior College. In 1970, the school closed briefly again and reopened in 1971 as the Douglas Anderson Seventh Grade Center. In 1985, the school opened as Douglas Anderson School of the Arts becoming the only school in the county offering arts education. During its tenure, the school has produced award-winning performances in theatre, dance and music. Many students from the school were featured in major films including Brenda Starr, Sunshine State and The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking as well as the short-lived television series Safr Harbor.


Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "DOUGLAS ANDERSON SCHOOL OF THE ARTS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "History / History".
  3. ^ "Blue Ribbon Schools Program (Archived Information)" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  4. ^ "The Grammy Foundation announces the 2010 Grammy Signature Schools" (PDF) (Press release). The Grammy Foundation/The Recording Academy. 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2010-10-30.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Sanders, Topher (2009-11-14). "Douglas Anderson graduates come back for school's 50th anniversary". The Florida Times-Union. Morris Communications. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  6. ^ "History of Douglas Anderson #107". Archived from the original on 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-10.