Wendell Phillips Academy High School
|Wendell Phillips Academy High School|
244 East Pershing Road
|School type||Public Secondary|
|Motto||"The premiere south side school of choice."|
|School district||Chicago Public Schools|
|Principal||Matthew G. Sullivan|
|Athletics conference||Chicago Public League|
|Accreditation||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
Wendell Phillips Academy High School is a public 4–year high school located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Phillips is part of the Chicago Public Schools district and is managed by the Academy for Urban School Leadership. It is named for the noted American abolitionist Wendell Phillips. It was the first predominantly African-American high school in Chicago. The school opened in 1904. In 2010, Phillips became a turnaround school in an effort to lower the school's one–year dropout rate of 66.8 percent. The school received the Spotlight on Technology award from the Chicago Public Schools leadership technology summit in 2013. The school's attendance boundary includes areas of the South Side, Chinatown, and portions of the Chicago Loop.
Phillips is a High School Transformation and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) school and offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as honors courses as part of its academic curriculum. It provides a positive learning environment through an academic curriculum promoting literacy and inquiry-based learning. AP courses are offered in U.S. history, Biology, and English. Honors courses are offered in 15 subjects. Education To Careers (ETC) programs are offered in fashion design, graphic communications, and drafting. Phillips also features a Junior Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (JAFROTC) program and a health clinic to serve the needs of its students. Enrollment is open to students living in its attendance area; if space is available, students outside the area may apply.
In addition to its longstanding sports program, Phillips offers students the opportunity to participate in Student Council, Air Force (AFJROTC), a school Newspaper Club, the Book Club, the Culture Club, a Music Production Project, an Entrepreneurial Project, Junior Achievement, yearbook, and a debate Team.
Phillips community and university partners include the University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Ada S. McKinley Educational Talent Search, City Year Chicago, Dawson Skills Center, Carnegie Learning, Field Museum, Kaplan, Center for New Horizons, and Project Strive.
Phillips opened September 5, 1904 and was named for Wendell Phillips (1811–1884), the staunch abolitionist and advocate for Native Americans. He was one of the leading members of the American Anti-Slavery Society. The high school traces its history to 1875, when South Division High School was opened as the South Side's first public high school. When its new Phillips campus opened in 1904, the school was still predominantly attended by the wealthy children of Chicago's South Side mansions, but this soon changed. Changing demographics resulted from the Great Migration, by which millions of African Americans left the rural South for northern and midwestern industrial cities, including Chicago. By 1907, 90 black students had enrolled at Phillips. Early yearbooks portray a racial mix in the student body, but by 1920 the school had become Chicago's first predominantly African-American high school. During this period, the school's winning basketball team was drafted by Abe Saperstein, a Chicago Parks and Recreation employee, to form the nucleus of a group that later became the Harlem Globetrotters. They were initially called "the Savoy Big Five," taking their new name from Bronzeville's Savoy Ballroom. Those players included Tommy Brookings, Hillary Brown, George Easter, William "Razor" Frazier, Roosevelt Hudson, Inman "Big Jack" Jackson, Lester Johnson, Byron "Fat" Long, William "Kid" Oliver, Al "Runt" Pullins, Randolph Ramsey, Ted Strong and Walter "Toots" Wright, all of whom were formerly students at Phillips High.
In 1929, the Board of Education voted to build a new Wendell Phillips High School (which later became DuSable High School) at 49th and Wabash Avenue. Economic conditions during the Great Depression slowed the work on the building; it was finally completed February 4, 1935. The old school "mysteriously" caught fire January 28, 1935, making it necessary for the students to move to the new school in February 1935. Now located at 244 E. Pershing Road in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, the school has produced a number of notable African-American alumni, including Nat "King" Cole, singing legend and charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the singer Sam Cooke; and George E. Johnson, Sr., founder of Johnson Products (he was a cosmetics manufacturer and his was the first African-American owned firm to be listed on the American Stock Exchange). Constructed in 1904 in the Classical Revival style, the school building was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 7, 2003 in time for its 100th anniversary. Phillips was used as the setting and shooting location for the movie Save the Last Dance, released in 2001.
- Spencer R. Smith (1904–1917)
- Charles H. Perrine (1917–1921)
- Albert W. Evans (1921–1926)
- Chauncey C. Willard (1926–1935)
- William H. Page (1935–1937)
- William Abrams (1937–1939)
- Maudelle B. Bousfield (1939–1950)
- Virginia F. Lewis (1950–1961)
- Robert E. Lewis (1961–1965)
- Alonzo A. Crim (1965–1968)
- William Finch (1968–1971)
- Daniel W. Caldwell (1971–1975)
- Ernestine D. Curry (1975–1990)
- Juanita T. Tucker (1990–1997)
- Beverly LaCoste (1997–2001)
- Bertha Buchanan (2002–2004)
- Euel Bunton (2004–2010)
- Terrence A. Little (2010)
- Devon Q. Horton (2010–2014)
- Matthew G. Sullivan (2014–)
Phillips competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The schools sports teams are nicknamed Wildcats. Phillips athletic teams have had a history of success. The boys' basketball team won the state Class AA title in 1974–75 and city of Chicago champions in 1976. The boys' track and field team placed first in 1901–02, 1905–06, 1942–43, 1949–50, 1950–51 and 1961–62. The girls' basketball team were regional champions in 2012–13.  The 2014–15 Wildcats football team was the IHSA class 4A runner–up, making them the second CPS program and the first in 32 years to play in an IHSA football championship game. In the 2015–16 season, Phillips returned to the 4A finals and defeated Belleville Althoff 51–7 to become the first Chicago public league team to win a state championship in football, and for the second time in three years, they became the state champions again in 2017 in the 5A division, defeating Dunlap 33-7.
- Gwendolyn Brooks – author, first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize
- Hillery Brown – professional basketball player
- Archibald Carey, Jr – lawyer, judge, politician, diplomat and clergyman
- Jodie Christian – jazz musician
- Darius Clemons – basketball player 
- Nat "King" Cole – singer, musician and recording star in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Sam Cooke – Soul and gospel recording star in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Osiris Eldridge – professional basketball player
- Mary G. Evans — pastor at Cosmopolitan Community Church from 1932 to 1966
- Marla Gibbs – Emmy Award-winning actress and singer
- Lucius Perry Gregg, Jr. – fourth African American to graduate from United States Naval Academy, the first with honors; first African American to receive a graduate degree in Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology; first African American Dean of Science (Associate) from a major university, Northwestern University
- Alvin Hall – former NFL player
- Herbie Hancock – jazz musician
- Chris Hinton – NFL player, Baltimore Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings
- Milt Hinton - jazz musician
- Paul Des Jardien – member of College Football Hall of Fame
- George E. Johnson, Sr. – founder, Johnson Products, the first African American owned company listed on American Stock Exchange
- Gerri Major - journalist, editor and author
- Ira Murchison - sprinter, gold medalist at 1956 Olympic Games
- Lee Roy Murphy – professional boxer
- Larry Murray - professional baseball player
- Alonzo S. Parham – second African American to attend West Point
- Mike Pruitt – former NFL player
- Al Pullins – original member of Harlem Globetrotters
- Ted Double Duty Radcliffe – member of Baseball Hall of Fame
- William Clintard "Bill" Robinzine – NBA player (1975–82)
- Dinah Washington – singer, recording artist in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Mary T. Washington – the first African-American woman CPA
- Frances Cress Welsing – psychiatrist, author of The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors
- Claude "Buddy" Young - Pro Football Hall of Famer, the first African-American executive hired by a major sports league (NFL).
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Alonzo Parham entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the first black cadet to be accepted since the graduation of Charles R. Young in 1889.
- "Gene Ammons: The Jug". biographic sketch. National Public Radio. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
Some of Ammons' stylistic versatility can undoubtedly be traced to his Chicago home ... He also learned from the renowned "Captain" Walter Dyett, the musical director of Chicago's DuSable High School. Dyett was instrumental in launching the careers of many other DuSable alumni, including the legendary crooner and pianist Nat "King" Cole and fellow saxophonist Johnny Griffin.
- Saluting Capt. Walter Dyett, who made stars at DuSable: Chicago Tribune (August 21, 2013)