Three Area Schools Named in Honor of Abolitionists

By Jordan, Ray | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 13, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Three Area Schools Named in Honor of Abolitionists


Jordan, Ray, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Who are Charles Sumner, (Fred) Douglass and (Harriet) Stowe, and why are schools named after them?

A.E.

St. Louis The three historical figures are associated with the antislavery cause in the 19th century. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was an author and humanitarian who wrote the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Stowe Middle School is at 5759 Lotus Avenue. Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) was a former slave who lectured and wrote about his experiences. He recruited Negroes for the Union Army during the Civil War and later held various appointments in Republican administrations. Douglass, a St. Louis County school for blacks until the mid-1950s, was at 546 North Elm Avenue in Webster Groves. It continued as an elementary school until 1978, when it was closed. It's now an apartment building. Sumner (1811-1874) was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and an ardent abolitionist. He once was cane-whipped by a Southern sympathizer, angry over Sumner's remarks on the Senate floor. Sumner High School traces its lineage to 1875, when it became the first public high school for blacks west of the Mississippi River. The school was first at 11th and Spruce streets, moved to 15th and Walnut, then relocated to its present location, 4248 West Cottage Avenue, in 1910. Some of Sumner's distinguished alumni: tennis great Arthur Ashe, singers Grace Bumbry and Robert McFerrin, Congressman William Clay, KMOV anchorman Julius Hunter, comedian Dick Gregory and entertainers Chuck Berry and Tina Turner.

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