Our History

 A Cherished Tradition Since 1885
The rich tradition of Frederick Douglass High School dates back to 1883 when some high school courses were added to the subjects taught at the Grammar School for Colored Children, located on Holiday Street. Two years later in 1885, some fifteen pupils were invited by the principal to participate in a high school curriculum. Four years later, 1889, the first graduating class received its diploma from Mayor Ferdinand Latrobe and the school was officially designated as a high school by city ordinance.
In 1901 the school moved from Saratoga Street near Charles Street, where it had been housed in 1887, to a building on the corner of Dolphin Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. At the same time the responsibility of training teachers was added. Known as the Colored High School, this dual function was retained until 1901.

Early in the 1920's a new site was selected at Calhoun and Baker Streets for a new building; it was named Frederick Douglass High School, in honor of the great abolitionist, orator, and statesman, and was approved by the Board of School Commissioners in 1923. In 1925, the first class entered the new institution and for the first time, the school enjoyed such facilities as a gymnasium, a library, a cafeteria, and an accredited high school. This accreditation awarded by the Association of the Middle Atlantic States has been maintained since that time.

Frederick Douglass High School has been fortunate to have had outstanding educators as principals. These principals have included:
 

Dr. George Staley

1883-1900

 

Mrs. Elizabeth H. Adams

1973-1974

Mr. Hugh M. Brown

1900-1902

 

Mr. Earl L. Hagan

1974-1980

Dr. James H.N. Warning

1902-1909

 

Mrs. Jean B. Owens

1980-1991

Mr. Joseph B. Lockerman

1909

 

Mrs. Shirley T. Hill

1991-1994

Dr. Mason A. Hawkins

1934

 

Mr. Orrester Shaw

1994-1995

Mr. Harry T. Pratt

1934-1945

 

Ms. Rose Backus-Davis

1995-2001

Mr. Ralph Reckling

1945-1956

 

Mrs. Roberta Johnson

2001

Mrs. Lillian M. Murphy

1956-1965

 

Mrs. Isabelle E. Grant

2001-2006

Mr. James A. Spencer

1965

 

Dr. Darlene Cheek Lyles

2006-2007

Mrs. Edna O. Campbell

1965-1973

 

Mr. Clark Montgomery

2007- 2011


Through the devoted leadership of the principals and the dedicated services of its many illustrious teachers, numerous alumni were given the foundation upon which to build outstanding records. At least four have been awarded Phi Beta Kappa keys. Several have earned Ph.D. degrees, and many have entered the professions. Prominent Frederick Douglass High School alumni include:

US Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge
Robert Watts

Attorney
Juanita Mitchell

Maryland State Delegate
Victorine Adams

Musician and entertainer
Cab Calloway

Jazz singer
Ethel Ennis

Congressman
Parren J. Mitchell

Maryland State Senator
Clarence Blount

Songwriter and playwright
(Bubbling Brown Sugar)
Avon Long

NFL football players
Raymond Chester
Albert Johnson

Maryland Court of Appeals Judge
Harry Cole

Secretary of Public Safety and
Correctional Services
Bishop Robinson

Dr. Rebecca Carroll, Vondalee H. Clark, Dr. Earl Murphy,
Samuel Myers, Veronica Tyler

And
Former Principals of Frederick Douglass High School
Jean B. Owens, Orrester Shaw, Jr. and Isabelle E. Grant

Logo
Home of the Mighty Ducks
Logo
© 2019. The Historic Frederick Douglass High School. All Rights Reserved.
View text-based website