Southern High School (Durham, North Carolina)

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Southern High School
800 Clayton Road, Durham, NC 27703
Durham, North Carolina
United States
Coordinates 36°00′05″N 78°49′56″W / 36.00144°N 78.83233°W / 36.00144; -78.83233Coordinates: 36°00′05″N 78°49′56″W / 36.00144°N 78.83233°W / 36.00144; -78.83233
Type Public high school
Established 1956
School district Durham Public Schools
Principal Kenneth Barnes
Grades 9 through 12
Number of students 1600
Campus Urban area
Color(s)      Red and      White
Mascot spartan

Southern High School is located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Southern is part of Durham Public Schools. Southern has prominent football, baseball, and basketball programs as well as the Symphonic Soul of the South Marching Band. There are currently 1574 students.


Hope Valley School was constructed in 1927 to house grades 1 through 11 and was the first public educational facility in Southwest Durham County. Structural changes and additions were made to the Hope Valley School facility in 1941 and 1952.

Hope Valley School was subsequently downgraded to an elementary school with the opening of the then-new Southern High School in the Fall of 1956. The first African American entered Southern High School in 1965, Thelma Smith a junior and Annie Bradford a sophomore. The NAACP sued the Durham County Schools for integration of the schools. The Durham County School Board had an integration plan accepted by the Federal District Court in Greensboro in 1968 stating that all high schools and junior high schools would be integrated in the fall of 1969. Due to space limitations and the need to purchase mobile units to accomplish integration at the elementary school level, the Federal District Judge in Greensboro gave a year delay for the integration of the elementary schools.

The principals of Durham County's high schools were all employed during legal segregation. A lot of discussion took place by whites and blacks in the Durham community about how successful the process of integration would be in Durham County. Many knew there would be problems at Southern High School, because the Southern High School mascot was the Rebel, and the high school used the rebel flag (later changed to the Spartan). The principal at Southern High School during this time was Sidney Ray.

There was less concern about integration at the Durham County School System's Jordan High School because this high school had been attended by Durham's more affluent families, both black and white.

Northern High School was at the opposite end of the spectrum having one of the most rigid principals in the Durham County School System and was the site of one of the reported problems.

After integration Southern High School was a majority white enrolled high school through the 1980s. Today the school is majority black enrolled.

The school was moved to the current location in 1993 when the construction of the pharmaceutical company then called Glaxo Wellcome Inc (now called GlaxoSmithKline). built a new building near Research Triangle Park on the site of Southern High School.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]