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Northeast Junior High
Located: 4th & Troup
Built: 1923 (organized) -1925 (occupied)
School colors: Blue and White
1909-1925 - Rose/Peterson, Architects - The design of two junior high schools from this period, Northwest (1922-23) and the more elaborately detailed Northeast (1923-24), employed those elements common to the elementary schools, while expanding the width to five bays and adding additional stories.
NOTE: From the Historical and Architectural Survey, KC Planning & Zoning, Phase 4, 1994: Rose and Peterson, Architects. Northeast Junior High School was built in 1923-24, with an addition added in 1961. The addition was designed by the architectural firm of Radotinsky, Meyn & Deardorf. Although it is apparent that the overall vocabulary and massing of this building parallel Rose's earlier designs which were influenced by the Second Renaissance Revival (i.e., Bancroft Elementary School), here the elements are handled more delicately, thus appearing less prominent, while the floor plan duplicates that of Northwest Junior High School. Northeast was originally a segregated school for African-American children. Despite its size and quality, it was closed as the result of a court order desegregating the Kansas City, Kansas school system in the 1970s, and remains vacant and endangered.
Closed: 1977 as part of federally ordered desegregation
(Property sold 1985 to Pleasant Green Baptist Church)
Delano E. Lewis, Sr.
Personal Perspective: A Native Kansas Citian and African-American Relates the Impact of Brown vs. Board of Education on His Educational and Professional Journey
Junior High Schools of Kansas City, Kansas (pdf)
by R. L. Lyman, University of Chicago
In the early 1930s, George Washington Carver visited Northeast Jr. High to speak with the student body at an assembly. Josephine Vandiver Boone
Northeast Junior High sits on historic ground, dating back to the Wyandots.
From "The Kansas City, Kansas Public School System" by Nellie McGuinn, 1966
"As Matthew Walker had found the sightly spot at Troup and old Walnut (Fourth St) an ideal location for his mansion, so more than twenty-five years later did George Fowler. In 1880 $75,000 was a fabulous sum for a house, and that is what Fowler spent on his home. He modeled it on the plan of a feudal castle of his native Ireland.
The large rooms were the scene of receptions and parties, probably the most elaborate ever seen in Wyandotte up to that time.
It is difficult to imagine a residence of such magnificence in the little city of mud streets, roving livestock, and modest homes. Old engravings show the thirty-room house set in several acres of grounds. The seven "inlaid" mantles that adorned the fireplaces, the basement swimming pool, and the beautiful circular staircase, curving at the back of the house from the basement to the top floor, were marvels of the 1880s. The woodwork was of valuable, rare woods. Different colors of wood made up the inlaid floors. Near the front entrance "Welcome" was spelling out in large letters inlaid in oak.
The Edgerton Place residential district grew up around the Fowler mansion. The Baptist Seminary occupied the building after the Fowlers sold to Swift and Company and left the city. The Northeast Junior High School was built on the site in 1923."
From: A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin', 'Riting, 'Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (Copy located in the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave, KCKs, 913-551-3280). The school district is sincerely grateful to Mr. William W. Boone, Ms. Josephine C. Vandiver, and Mr. Jackson C. Van Trece for their research and preparation of this material.
"The elementary schools, with grades one through six which were attended totally by Black students, were considered to be the "feeder" schools for Northeast Junior High School. In addition to those feeder schools, Black families from White Church, Edwardsville and Shawnee Mission, Kansas had to send their children to Northeast Junior High School. The school became greatly over-crowded. The fourth floor hallway was closed off and converted into a science and mathematics classroom. Sections of the auditorium were used for classrooms. During the 1950's, the enrollment doubled from the original enrollment.
Northeast Junior High School was organized in 1923. The building is located on the site in the northeast part of Kansas City, Kansas that was once owned by the Fowler family of the Fowler Packing Industry. This site is high on a hill, and the school can be seen for miles around. It was believed that prior to occupation of the site by the Fowler family, there was a school for Indians located on the same site. There were nineteen teachers on the first faculty of Northeast Junior High and the enrollment soared to a staggering number of 525 students.
The first principal of Northeast was Mr. J. P. King. He remained principal of that school from 1923 to 1929. Mr. King left Northeast in 1930 to become president of the Western University. He remained as president of that institution until he was killed in an automobile accident, January 11, 1933. It was one of the first faculty members, Mr. Joseph H. Collins, who was appointed by the superintendent of schools, Mr. M. E. Pearson, who became the second principal of Northeast Junior High School. Mr. Collins served as principal longer than any other person, 29 years. Even though Northeast was organized in 1923, the building was not occupied until 1925. Grades seven, eight, and nine were located in this school.
The Northeast Junior High School P.T.A. was organized in 1924. The first president of this group was Mrs. Charles Washington, wife of a Baptist minister. Charter members included such well known names as Audrey Wells, Grace Tucker, Mae McClelland, Daisy Whitfield, Jennie Thatcher, Marion Caruthers, W. M. Blount and Carolyn King.
There were many outstanding and dedicated teachers who were members of the faculty during the early years of Northeast Junior High School. Such names as W. D. Dunlap, Doris Novel, A. J. Starnes, Carolyn Kealing, Daisy Whitfield, Marguerite Lamb (Nurse), S. G. Thompson, Jr., Mae McClelland, Laura Harland, Mae Harland, Clarence Glasse, Mary Frey, Freddie Mae Hill, Maedella Summers, Rebecca Bloodworth and Belva Spicer were just a few members of that excellent faculty. As years passed, there were additional persons brought to the faculty. They, too, were highly dedicated and professional teachers. In this group of teachers were Louis Spears, Bertram, Caruthers [Annotation: for whom Caruthers Elementary School is named], Eleanor Matthews, Eleanor Matthews, Rozella Caldwell, Mattie Williams, Arieta Mobiley, William Boone [author of this works], Josephine Vandiver [assistant to the author of this works], Jackson Van Trece [assistant to the author of this works], Helen Boswell, William Woody, Ada Brady (nurse), Claude Wright, Harold Wright, Lee Roy Pitts, Webster McGee, Henry Jones, Thelma Hamilton, Leon Brady, Melba Hall, Marjorie Rhone, Doris Haley, Clementine Walker, William Walker, Harold Foster, William Woody, Jewelene Ogburn, Jaques La France, Ramona Townsend, Patricia Weng, Melgin Williams, Cora Hannon, Benoyd Ellison and Geraldine Strader.
Interestingly enough, a large number of children who attended Northeast Junior High School had to ride to school each day. The McCallop buses (.pdf) would arrive at the school each morning loaded with children. The buses would arrive approximately twenty minutes before the beginning of school. At the close of each day, the fleet of buses would return to take the "bus riders" back to their homes. Then, there was another group of students who lived beyond walking distance to school. Each day these children were given two "street car" tokens for the purpose of riding home on the public service street car or on the public service bus. The "street car" riders were mainly those students who lived in the western part of the city. Transportation for these two groups was discontinued in the late 1950's.
From the years of 1929 to 1958, the school curriculum was designed to meet the needs of the children. The principal, Mr. Collins, appointed Mrs. Rozella Caldwell Swisher to be the chair person for the new Core Curriculum program. Subjects such as Community Civics, Geography, History, English and Mathematics were used in the Core Curriculum program. There were other subjects not used in the Core Curriculum program such as, Typing, Algebra, Art, Music, Industrial Arts, Health, Foods, Clothing and Physical Education. These were very appealing subjects to the students. It was Mrs. Swisher's responsibility to see that the core subjects were coordinated. Frequent meetings were held with the English and Social Studies teachers to discuss and determine the course of action when new units of the Core program began. The entire Core Curriculum program was successful.
Northeast Junior was the only junior high school in Kansas City, Kansas which had a membership charter for the National Junior Honor Society. The charter was issued by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Charter #31 was issued to Northeast Junior High School in 1931. Also, Northeast Junior High School was the first junior high school in this city to have a chapter in the F. T. A. (Future Teachers of America). Rozella Caldwell Swisher sponsored this program.
In 1929, a public address system was installed in the building. In 1932, a 16 mm sound film projector was installed in the movie booth in the school auditorium. In 1938, a Hammond electronic organ was purchased at the cost of $2,000.00. This was the only junior high school with an organ in its auditorium. This organ was paid for by the citizens of the northeast community. In addition to these items, $500.00 worth of shrubbery was purchased to beautify the school ground. There was also $300.00 worth of new scenery for the auditorium stage purchased during that time. Furniture for the teachers lounge and uniforms for the athletes were purchased by patrons of the school. In 1962, the P.T.A. raised $16,000.00 from the sale of candy to purchase musical instruments for the music departments.
In the spring of 1958, Mr. Joseph H. Collins retired as principal of Northeast Junior High School. It was in the fall of 1958 when the third principal, William W. Boone (also a former teacher at Northeast and Sumner), was appointed by superintendent F. L. Schlagle to begin his duties as principal of that school. In addition to the appointment of a new principal in 1958, the enrollment had increased to such proportions (1,350), that it was necessary to remodel and construct an annex to the school. Since the school was located on only one and one-half acres of land, the annex absorbed practically all the area that was used for playground for the children. By this time (1958), it was necessary to reorganize the curriculum and introduce new and updated materials.
In the summer of 1959, the renovation of the old building and the construction of the annex began only to be halted by a long construction workers' strike. To educate the students during the striking period, it was necessary to place the school on half day sessions. Part of the ninth grade class was sent to Sumner High School. When the strike ended in 1960, the renovation of the old building and the construction of the annexed building was completed. On January 19, 1961, the half day sessions ended and the ninth grade at Sumner High School returned to Northeast Junior. The addition to the building included new rooms for Music, Art, Physical Education, Industrial Arts, Science, Typing, teachers lounge, office facilities, library, Home Economics, Health Suite, remodeled auditorium and stage, lockers for children, a new cafeteria and kitchen, a snack bar, and finally the heating plant was converted from coal burning furnaces to gas burners. The gas burners could quickly be converted to oil burners in the event of a gas shortage. The third principal, Mr. Boone, reorganized the curriculum to include Citizenship - 9, Art and Ceramics, Journalism, Typing 1 & 2, Clothing 7 & 9, Homeliving, Spanish 1 & 2, Algebra, Science 7 & 9, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music which included one class on the Organ, Geography, History, Mathematics 7-8-9, Special Education, Remedial Reading, English, Mathematics Laboratory, Electronics, Woodworking, Drafting, and Mechanical Drawing, Physical Education, Sheet Metal, and Foods.
There new changes in the school program are responsible for the high excellence in achievement by the students. They became very competitive in sports and and journalism, also in the academic area as in English and Mathematics. Chess was the dominating activity in the mathematics classes and the journalism classes produced a year book and school newspaper as part of their extra curricular activity.
In the 1960's, emphasis was placed on obtaining the masters degree and teachers were encouraged to get the higher degree. At one time, approximately 40% of the faculty held a masters degree. When integration ended the segregated schools in 1954, Northeast Junior High School lost many of those teachers who had the masters degree to other schools (mainly high schools). Also, several of these teachers left the system to obtain positions in other cities where the demand for experienced persons with masters degrees was greater than in Kansas City, Kansas. This sudden shift in faculty necessitated rebuilding the faculty with young inexperienced persons. It took several years before the faculty was good and strong again.
During the time when William Boone was principal at Northeast Junior High School (1959-1973), Josephine Vandiver, Counselor, set up a program for pregnant junior high school girls. With the cooperation of the school principal, these students were given pre-natal care, they were allowed to do their school work, and they were allowed the appropriate credit for completing their school work. This new system allowed those girls to continue in school without actually being in the public school setting. This experiment probably was the forerunner of the present day TAMS (Teen Age Mothers School) which is district wide for the KCKs school district.
During the total existence of the school, there were two other persons who served as principal. From 1973 to 1975, Arnold Webb, served as principal; and from 1975-1977, William C. Walker, was the principal. Some interesting facts about the school show that Northeast held regular graduation ceremonies from 1923 to 1958. After that time, students from the ninth grade were simply promoted to senior high school. It is also interesting to note that during the 36 year span (1923 to 1958), 10,825 Black students received diplomas from Northeast. The smallest graduating class was in 1923 with 173 students. The largest graduating class from Northeast was in 1954 with 401 students.
It was in the summer of 1963, in the month of June, when Northeast was set fire by a juvenile. The fire demolished the auditorium and several classrooms. The roof was damaged extensively. The firewall that was built around the auditorium saved the building from total destruction. The cost of the fire was more than $50,000. However, despite the severe damage to the building, it was back in order and ready for occupancy by December of 1963. The juvenile was apprehended, however, the authorities would not prosecute him.
The school was finally closed as a result of a mandate which was issued by the District Courts in 1977.
Northeast Principals: 1925-1930 - J. P. King / 1930-1959 - Joseph H. Collins / 1959-1973 - William W. Boone / 1973-1975 - Arnold Webb / 1975-1977 - William C. Walker
This represents an excerpt from the manuscript/book as it was presented, including terminology used at the time of the writing. All attempts have been made to reproduce the spelling, capitalization and layout of the original manuscript/book as much as possible.
Disclaimer: The written historical perspectives online at this web site, and web sites to which links are provided, reflect the view of the author(s)/(creator(s) which are protected under the rights of free speech; and do "not" necessarily reflect the views of the Kansas City, Kansas Board of Education.
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In 1923, the family of Cordell D. Meeks (first black District Court Judge of Kansas) moved to Kansas City, Kansas.
"In the summer of 1927, we moved from the old Armstrong district to the area north of Minnesota Avenue. This district was called 'Wyandotte.'
In the fall of that year, I enrolled at Northeast Junior High, in the 7th grade. The principal was a brilliant educator by the name of J. P. King, who later became president of Western University. When J. P. King left to head Western University became the principal of Northeast Junior High. Mr. Collins will long be remembered for his policy of strict discipline for students.
In the 9th grade at Northeast, I had a teacher of General Science who later went on to great heights as an educator. He was S. H. Thompson, Jr. Mr. Thompson, who for many years served with distinction as principal of Sumner High School, had also served as a supervisor in the public school system.
If the Armstrong district was the melting pot as far as races and nationalities were concerned, then Northeast Junior High School was certainly a melting pot as far as black students from various parts of the city were concerned.
Racial segregation in the public schools was the rule and Northeast was the only junior high school for blacks in the entire city. Black students who had reached the 7th grade had to come from their homes in Rosedale, Argentine, Armourdale, Armstrong, Quindaro, Greystone Heights, Wyandotte and West Bottoms to attend Northeast Junior High."
To Heaven through Hell, Cordell D. Meeks, Corcell Publishers Inc., 1986 [Information furnished by courtesy of Mrs. Josephine Vandiver Boone] For further excerpts, see Armstrong School, Garrison School , and Sumner High School.
Judge Meeks' book is well recommended. It is an autobiography of the First Black District Court Judge of Kansas. It contains information not only about Judge Cordell D. Meeks, but the areas and times in which he lived.
In early 1977, the district received a decision from the United States District Court which did not require major and mandatory relocation of students, but did require the desegregation of Northeast Junior and Sumner High Schools. That decision had been appealed to the Tenth Circuit of the Federal Courts by the Department of Justice in the hope of securing a ruling to require a "racial balance" in all schools. Such a decision would have required the mandatory relocation of thousands of students by a system of cross-districting busing. At this point, only voluntary racial balance transfers were required at the elementary school level. Northeast Junior High was to be closed and its students and teachers reassigned to other schools. Sumner was to be converted to an academic magnet school in 1978. A committee of parents had spent the previous four months working through meetings to assure the smooth integration of pupils from Northeast Junior into Central, Rosedale, Argentine, Arrowhead and Eisenhower. Sumner Academy of Arts and Science was scheduled to open in September, 1978, as part of the desegregation plan. "Schools in KCKs in Years of Change, 1964-86," by O. L. Plucker, Superintendent Emeritus, June, 1987 (pg. 50-52)
History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012