Durham High School (North Carolina)

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Durham High School
Durham High School, now the main building at Durham School of the Arts
Durham, North Carolina North Carolina, United States United States
Coordinates 36°0′12″N 78°54′23″W / 36.00333°N 78.90639°W / 36.00333; -78.90639Coordinates: 36°0′12″N 78°54′23″W / 36.00333°N 78.90639°W / 36.00333; -78.90639
Type Government High school
Closed 1993
Campus type Urban area

Durham High School is a former high school in Durham, North Carolina.


Central High School, located on Morris Street, opened in 1906 and served Durham city's white high school students until 1922. This building then was converted to Durham's City Hall and is now the home of the Durham Arts Council. Durham High School replaced Central High School in 1922 on property that once belonged to Brodie L. Duke.

During racial segregation Durham High School was a high school for whites in the city of Durham. The high school for African Americans was Hillside High School. In 1959, Durham High School began integration under then Superintendent of Schools, Lew W. Hannen. In 1959-60 African Americans Joycelyn McKissick, a senior, and Claudette Brame, a junior, enrolled.

Located next to Durham High School was also the then new Central Junior High School, which opened in 1926. The building was later renamed Julian S. Carr Junior High School in 1945. The junior high became part of the Durham High School campus in the fall of 1975, when the school district expanded high schools to include grade 9. (Prior to that year, Durham junior highs included grades 7-9 and high schools served grades 10-12.)

By the 1980s Durham High School was no longer a majority white school.

In 1992 the Durham City and County School Districts merged to become Durham Public Schools. Durham High School closed as a traditional high school in 1995. Durham School of the Arts opened in 1995 as the Durham Magnet Center for Visual and Performing Arts and later was renamed Durham School of the Arts. The former Durham High School campus now makes up part of the Durham School of the Arts campus, along with the site of the former Carr Middle School. The former Durham High School auto shop is now Durham School of the Art's Black Box Theatre.


Durham High School's football team won five state championships between 1938 and 1945, under Coach Cary Brewbaker. Durham High School, was well known for its basketball program, in fact Durham High School lead North Carolina in most Men's Basketball State Championships with 13. Before that, during a three-year period, from 1937 through 1940, under Coach Paul Sykes, Durham High's basketball team compiled a phenomenal record of seventy-three straight wins. Included in those wins were championships in the Duke-Durham Invitational Tournament and the Eastern Interscholastic Tournament at Glen Falls, NY. Horace "Bones" McKinney, was the premier player during this three year, undefeated span. McKinney later became a standout collegiate and professional basketball player, ultimately ending up as Head Coach, for many years, at Wake Forest College. The gymnasium at Durham High was later named for Coach Sykes. [1] In 1969, Dave Odom became Durham High's basketball coach. He was voted the league's coach of the year five times in his seven years there, before becoming a coaching assistant at Wake Forest University.

Notable people[edit]

  • Louis Isaac Jaffe (1888–1950), journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, was educated at the school

External links[edit]