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Indiana’s Former All-Black School May Become College Academy

Indiana’s Former All-Black School May Become College Academy


School officials want to turn the city’s first all-Black high school, Crispus Attucks, from a middle school into a college prep academy.

Crispus Attucks opened in the 1920s amid a statewide segregation movement. The school earned a national reputation for academics and produced a number of local educators, business and professional leaders, as well as three state basketball titles in the 1950s.

A federal court ordered the school desegregated in 1971, and by 1986, the high school was changed to a junior high.

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White recently said he wants to expand Attucks, along with Shortridge, from middle schools with grades six to eight to college prep academies for sixth- through 12th-graders.

Shortridge was closed as a high school in 1981, after operating for more than 100 years. It was originally founded in 1864 as Indianapolis High School and was the state’s first free public high school. It was renamed Shortridge in 1898.

Scaling the schools back to middle schools upset some graduates.

“When they did that, many of us felt discarded and pushed aside,” said Clarence White Sr., a 1945 Attucks graduate and president of the 600-member alumni association.

Under the plan, the schools would offer tougher high school advanced placement courses and other classes that would count for college credit. Attucks would have a career focus on health and medicine, and Shortridge would focus on law and government.

The change is planned as school officials begin shifting student attendance boundaries to reflect changing enrollment trends.

Next month, the city school board was expected to receive a set of redistricting recommendations, including the proposed changes at Shortridge and Crispus Attucks.

“Our members have always wanted it to be returned to a high school,” Clarence White said. “It’s a historical place from the day it was built.”

Associated Press

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