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Crispus Attucks High School Basketball team

 

 

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In 1927, Crispus Attucks High School opened its doors as Indianapolis’ first and only all-Black high school. The decision to create an all-Black high school resided with the Ku Klux Klan-controlled Indianapolis Public School Board at the time. Inadequate space for Attucks’ growing student population and lack of support set the school up for failure. However, under the direction of leaders like principal Russell A. Lane, the school overcame these obstacles and gained a reputation for excellence. Crispus Attucks High School remained segregated until 1970 when the city integrated Indianapolis high schools.

 

The original name of the high school was intended to be Thomas Jefferson High School, but the protests from the Black community led to the Board conceding to instead name it after Crispus Attucks, a Black man who escaped enslavement and fought bravely during the Revolutionary War. Many teachers at Crispus Attucks High School held Master’s or Doctorate-level degrees in their fields. Limited in where they could teach, many talented Black teachers came to Crispus Attucks High School and taught their students how to succeed. Through the hard work of dedicated faculty and a proud student body, Crispus Attucks High School thrived and produced many successful Black graduates.

 

Distinguished alumni from Crispus Attucks High School include basketball legend Oscar Robertson; Major General Harry Brooks, was mentor to former Secretary of State Colin Powell; local historian and archivist Wilma Moore Gibbs; former Congresswoman Julia Carson; jazz musician Wes Montgomery; journalist Janet Langhart Cohen; Dr. Stanley Warren; Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Education at DePauw University; and Bethel AME Church historian and archivist Frances Stout.

 

To view Crispus Attucks High School yearbooks please visit the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Crispus Attucks High School digital collection

 

This collection was made possible by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation.

 

To learn more about the history of Crispus Attucks High School:

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis

The Crispus Attucks Museum

Attucks: The School that Opened a City

Separate but excellent: History of Crispus Attucks

The Real Hoosiers tale: Crispus Attucks

 

 
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