Douglass High School-Kingsport, TN


Douglass High School
Douglass High School, 1951

Douglass High School, 1951. Photo by David Peirce.

The desegregation of public schools and the integration of  Kingsport’s African-American students into Dobyns-Bennett High School led to the closing of Kingsport’s Douglass High School in 1966. At the time of the closing, Douglass was the largest African-American High School in the Upper East Tennessee Region.

Ms. Warfield’s 4th grade classroom, 1952. 1st row: Willena Stokley, Mary Cox, Delores Bly, Ronald Taylor 2nd row: Dora Neal, Major Burnette, Lillian Underwood, Lenetta Lee, Carl Bradford 3rd row: Ronald Lindsay, Edward McMiller, Brenda Leeper, Olivia Smith, Carolyn Rockmore, Jerry Price 4th row: Tim Price, Barbara Campbell, Jean Lane, Priscilla Etter, Yvonne Deal 5th row: Norman Hankins. Unknown photograpgher.

Ms. Warfield’s 4th grade classroom, 1952. 1st row: Willena Stokley, Mary Cox, Delores Bly, Ronald Taylor. 2nd row: Dora Neal, Major Burnette, Lillian Underwood, Lenetta Lee, Carl Bradford 3rd row: Ronald Lindsay, Edward McMiller, Brenda Leeper, Olivia Smith, Carolyn Rockmore, Jerry Price. 4th row: Tim Price, Barbara Campbell, Jean Lane, Priscilla Etter, Yvonne Deal. 5th row: Norman Hankins. Unknown photographer.

The old Douglass School was eventually turned into the  V.O. Dobbins Community Center (named after former principal Von Omer Dobbins). The building is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion project and the City of Kingsport has worked closely with the Douglass High School Alumni Association to keep the memory of the school alive.

Miss Douglass High School, Marie Briscoe, and her court, 1949. The two attendants are Ruby Hodges (left) and Gwendolyn Burnette (right).

Miss Douglass High School, Marie Briscoe, and her court, 1949. The two attendants are Ruby Hodges (left) and Gwendolyn Burnette (right). Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

Prior to building of Douglass High School, the Oklahoma Grove School served as the city’s African-American School. The Oklahoma Grove School opened to African-American students in 1913.

Douglass High School Choir, 1947. Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

Douglass High School Choir, 1947. Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

The Oklahoma Grove School could not accommodate the growing population and in 1928 a contract was awarded to build Douglass High School between Myrtle and Walnut Streets (now East Sevier) , facing Center Street. The school housed K-12 and again the growing enrollment forced the city to consider a new site for the school.

Douglass High School Band, 1953

Douglass High School Band, 1953. Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

In 1951, the Douglass School on Louis Street, in the Riverview Community of Kingsport, opened. The school, named after  Frederick Douglass, the great orator, journalist and abolitionist, closed its doors on June 8, 1966. Nineteen seniors graduated that year in the school’s final commencement exercises.

Members of the 1952-53 Douglass High School Football Team, coached by John Cox, Jr. The team record was 6-3. In the front row (from left to right) are: Durl Bristol, James Swafford, Oscar Ewing, James Leeper, Philip Horton (co-captain), Levenus McClintock, Rudolph Sensabough, Doyle Smith, and Willard Long. Second row: Joe Green, Lawrence Jones, Bravell McClintock, James Donald, Kenneth Lynch, Leon Wagstaff, Nathan Blye (captain), Bennie Banner, and Billye Hipps. Third Row: Spencer Lee, Frank Lynch, Walter Miller, Raymond Thomas, Bobby Hord, Carl Muncy, Cecil Long, Marshall Goodwin, Joe Louis Manuel, and Lonnie Cox. Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

Members of the 1952-53 Douglass High School Football Team, coached by John Cox, Jr. The team record was 6-3. In the front row (from left to right) are: Durl Bristol, James Swafford, Oscar Ewing, James Leeper, Philip Horton (co-captain), Levenus McClintock, Rudolph Sensabough, Doyle Smith, and Willard Long. Second row: Joe Green, Lawrence Jones, Bravell McClintock, James Donald, Kenneth Lynch, Leon Wagstaff, Nathan Blye (captain), Bennie Banner, and Billye Hipps. Third Row: Spencer Lee, Frank Lynch, Walter Miller, Raymond Thomas, Bobby Hord, Carl Muncy, Cecil Long, Marshall Goodwin, Joe Louis Manuel, and Lonnie Cox. Photo by Thomas McNeer, Jr.

For more information on the Douglass School please visit the archives or you can also check out the Douglass High School Alumni Association Website.

1951

Douglass High School, 1951. Photo by David Peirce.

3 thoughts on “Douglass High School-Kingsport, TN

  1. First off, we love the Tri Cities (Johnson City, Kingsport & Bristol).

    So much so, that my wife and created an online guide to the Tri Cities.

    It is your local guide to shopping, dining, events, things to do, visitors guide
    to the Tri Cities. We also have a section “Living in the Tri” for information
    for locals to find out what is around them.

    The guide can be found at: http://www.TriCitiesGuide.com

    Let us know what you think of it,

    Sean & Patricia Halliday
    http://www.tricitiesguide.com

  2. Pingback: Douglass High School « Archives of the City of Kingsport

  3. I just recently had my family reunion banquet at this community center. It
    is a beautiful facility that is rich with history.

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