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



Mrs. Elizabeth H. Adams


Mr. Hugh M. Brown



Mr. Earl L. Hagan


Dr. James H.N. Warning



Mrs. Jean B. Owens


Mr. Joseph B. Lockerman



Mrs. Shirley T. Hill


Dr. Mason A. Hawkins



Mr. Orrester Shaw


Mr. Harry T. Pratt



Ms. Rose Backus-Davis


Mr. Ralph Reckling



Mrs. Roberta Johnson


Mrs. Lillian M. Murphy



Mrs. Isabelle E. Grant


Mr. James A. Spencer



Dr. Darlene Cheek Lyles


Mrs. Edna O. Campbell



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

Juanita Mitchell

Maryland State Delegate
Victorine Adams

Musician and entertainer
Cab Calloway

Jazz singer
Ethel Ennis

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

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

Home of the Mighty Ducks
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