Howard High School, Piedmont,
Howard High School, Piedmont, West Virginia
The first organized efforts to open a school (in Piedmont, West Virginia) which Negro children could attend was located below Hampshire Street, above the B&O Railroad track, often referred to as "Chicken Ladder." After three years of operation, the private school was incorporated into the charge of the Board of Education in 1880.
In 1890, the colored public school reached its first milestone, when Henrietta Walker became the first student to successfully complete the required eight grade course. She was later in life to become mother of world renowned musician Don Redman.
Upon completion of the new Davis Public School for white students in 1890, Negro students were assigned to their former two-story, two-room building near Erin Street. In about 1912, the school was named Howard School in honor of its first principal, J. Howell Howard.
When the number of eighth grade students became so numerous in 1935, the Board was forced to open a higher education program to Howard students. This resulted in busing to the Frederick Street High School in Cumberland, Maryland to complete the required twelve grades.
Finally in 1937, higher education courses were added to the Howard School curriculum and an additional room added. Intermediate classes were bused to Keyser's Lincoln School and their high school students came to Howard. In 1939, Howard School realized its first graduating class of three. When the fall term opened that year, Howard School students failed to report and went on strike for ten days for a better school and better conditions. The Board responded by renovating and enlarging the existing building and adding a gymnasium. It remained at its present location until it was closed by integration in 1955.
Text and upper illustration taken directly from a poster entitled, Piedmont, 'The Foot of the Hill' - A Proud Past. The photograph below, taken by Albert Feldstein, depicts the Howard School in Piedmont, West Virginia as it appeared in May 2009. The building is currently vacant. Note the "Caution Children" sign at the street intersection.
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008