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A Rich History

The opening of Booker Taliaferro Washington HS was the culmination of several attempts by black leaders to construct a high school to educate black youths. In 1903 and 1910 the black community helped pass a school bond referendum and was promised a high school.  However, it was not until 1919, with the help of the NAACP, that black leaders conducted a successful voter registration drive. The newly registered voters helped to defeat a school bond referendum that year, and in 1921 another bond campaign arose. This time it passed due to black support and a promise for more black schools.      The school board then pledged $1,290,000 for black schools, and Booker T. Washington High School, the first black junior/senior high school in Atlanta, resulted from that effort. The board of education approved the purchase of twenty acres of land for the school on June 13, 1922. Eugene C. Wachendorff was selected as the architect and the school was named after Booker Taliaferro Washington, a native of Virginia, born a slave.    Later, in 1881, Washington founded and became the first principal of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and he became one of the most influential black leaders and educators in the United States.   In 1924, Charles Lincoln Harper, accepted the challenge to become the first principal of this great institution, and 32 dedicated teachers, committed themselves “to touch lives forever. The storied legacy of Booker T. Washington HS endures to this day.  .   .