DuBois High School8
The history of DuBois High School extends back to 1906 when an extra levy to establish the county’s first high schools–a white school at Oak Hill and a Negro school at Hilltop–were put on the ballot in the Fayetteville School District.
The Negro high school was to be established on property near the present site of the Negro seminary and is still owned by the West Virginia State Baptist Convention.
The idea of a Negro high school in 1906 was the center of discussion for many years. The first school was housed in the old MacDonald First Baptist Church. The actual building became a reality when the eight room brick building was erected on the hillside in Mount Hope in 1917. It was named after Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, an illustrious educator and civil rights leader on the staff of Howard University, Washington, DC. at that time.
Mr. E. L. Powell, a graduate of Fisk University, Nashville, TN, was the first principal. Through his dynamic leadership and guidance, DuBois High School became a reality in 1917. During 1917 to 1927, a number of physical changes were made on the inadequate building to justify its existence as a first class high school.
Others who served as principal were: Charles C. Warfield, L.A. Toney, R.E. Moss, Thomas Jefferson, T.W. Chiles, E.C. Smith and Thomas E. Ashe, Jr.
The many members of the DuBois High School faculty served efficiently for various periods of time. Some served for a short period of time while others spent their entire teaching career there. Many taught at DuBois and went on to serve in integrated facilities in the area and the nation.
The names of faculty and staff that have been compiled from documents and memories of others are: Vera Ford Powell, Carolyn Grant, Ford Gains, Edith McCall, John Branch, Sr., Ramona Lewis, Eunice Bloodworth, Aurelia Hundley Walker, Andrew Calloway, Florence McMillion, Richard McGhee, Addie Hundley Canada, Laura Ferry Grier, Robert Gaithers, George Scott, Dorothy Christian Harris, Charles O. Hundley, Joyce Sweeney Hairston, Weida Wallace Alston, Gladys Bradley Brown Jones, Cleophas Nelson, James Williams, James R.L. Brooks, Irvin S. Leece, Ruth Wheeler Hurtte, William Bowles, Eunice Burrell Fleming, Virginia Mooley Ferry, Blonzettta Jasper Walker, Elizabeth Leece, Doris Chiles, Richard Banks, Clarence Edmondson, Clifford King, Leon Heckbie, Florence McNorton and Lona Long.
The old brick DuBois High School and the frame building behind it serving as a Jr. High were destroyed by fire on June 23, 1950. For years following the fire, pupils were housed in temporary quarters. During conversations in 1999, Mrs. Fleming, former student and later music teacher, remembered the temporary classrooms this way. Two rooms were in the basement of First Union Baptist (this was the Jr. High according to Barbara Mosley) and two rooms were in American Hardware. The auditorium of First Baptist Church was sectioned off for classrooms including music. The downstairs area functioned as cafeteria and classroom space. The Principal’s office was in the corner of the basement. The main building consisted of four rooms and was located in the now empty lot on the corner of Main and Fayette Streets. A portable band room was on another nearby lot. It later caught fire from an overheated stove and burned destroying the music and instruments.
Almost four years later, the new building erected on the 19-21 Bypass at Turkey Knob near the city limits of Mount Hope was dedicated with an open house January 30 through February 1, 1954. This new building with its gleaming tile floors; rows of lockers, spacious classrooms and laboratories were the most modern in the county, possibly the state, and was a far cry from the dingy brick building on the hill and the make-shift quarters in which DuBois pupils had been attending classes.
Two years later, DuBois High School no longer existed. In May 1956, on the day seniors were out of the building for a planned event, school officials came to the new school and announced, to the surprise and dismay of many, the integration and bussing plan. In September of the same year, DuBois High School was integrated and immediately renamed Mt. Hope High School.
Trophies and other artifacts won by DuBois students, their clubs, organizations and history were dispensed to unknown locations and/or destroyed. However, the plaque on the wall at the entrance of the building states “DuBois High School” and was evidence that was covered with a trophy case.
In spite of, and perhaps because of these events, many DuBois students have made outstanding local, state and national achievements in many fields of endeavor. Science, the arts, medicine, religion, education, the military, public service and business are among areas in which DuBois students have excelled. What made the difference?
Ask anyone and you will hear stories about the TEACHERS at DuBois High School.
1917 – 1956
Found some new information and incorporated it.
[…] DuBois High School […]
One teacher at DuBois was not listed among all who taught there. Regina Donaldson was the Band director at DuBois following the departure of Clarence Edmonson. She remained through the 1956 school year, at which time the school were desegregated.
Regina Donaldson Harding lives in Beckley and has informed us she does not wish to be listed as a DuBois teacher because she was a substitute. A sorority sister has confirmed this again and will speak to her to find out if she has changed her mind. There were others who functioned as substitutes before being hired. Mrs. Leece comes to mind immediately. Thank you for your observations and desire to keep the history correct. DuBois on Main appreciates it.
Does anyone have stories about Laura Feary Griere?
YES! We pictures of Mrs. Griere in the museum which is closed due to the pandemic. We have many DuBois newsletters and the 1950
Valedictorian lives a few blocks away and loves to talk. First, tell me something about you and what is your interest in Mrs. Griere?
Ferry is the correct spelling of her name…