The Walnut Hills Historical Society has prepared a picture and a short caption for each day of the month to appear in Frederick Douglass School. Spencer School, also in Walnut Hills, is also sharing with their students. We’re putting on our Facebook Page. We’ll post them here, too. Check back each day until the end of February, 2018. If you would like to comment, please visit the Facebook Link. For most of the posts, there is also a link to a longer story here on our website.
Video Project Winners, 2017
Douglass School is still winning contests! In 2017, this video won a city competition.
Ida Mae Rhodes
Ida Mae Rhodes graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She helped to start the first African American sorority at UC in the early 1920’s. She taught at Douglass School. She also worked in the African American group that raised the money to purchase the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. She is in the picture in the front row on the left. The group turned the house over to the state historical society. They wanted it to be a center of African American culture in Cincinnati. Ida Mae Rhodes gave $100 from her savings as a teacher toward the purchase of the Stowe House.
For more information see Ida Mae Rhodes
Thatcher Fish & Poultry
Georgia and Earnest Thatcher owned a store in Walnut Hills. They sold fish and chickens. The store was on Lincoln Avenue from the 1930’s. Their children and grandchildren went to Frederick Douglass School. Their daughter Martha Thatcher Fields took over the store. Her son Nadir Rasheed was the last in the family to work in the store.
For more information see Thatcher’s Fish and Poultry
In 2008, the School Board decided to build a new Frederick Douglass School. This is the building we use now. We are part of a great history!
For more information, see Frederick Douglass Elementary School 2008
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Donald Spencer graduated from Walnut Hills High School and the University of Cincinnati. He also earned a master’s in education. He began teaching at Frederick Douglass School in 1940. The same year he married Marian Spencer. Donald Spencer later became a real estate broker. He began that career in Walnut Hills. Donald and Marian Spencer were angry that their African American children could not go to Coney Island. They worked for several years to make Coney Island allow African American children to use the amusement park. The Spencer Education Center is named after Donald and Marian Spencer.
For more information, see Donald Spencer, Douglass School teacher
Dr. Charles Dillard, MD
The Great Migration
Lots of African Americans moved from the South to the North during the 1910’s. They hoped to find good jobs and to be safe and free. This was called the “Great Migration.” Here is a picture of kids who moved from the South. The kids went to Douglass School in 1920. The painting shows girls from the South in school in the North.
For more information, see The Great Migration
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To explore the wonderful Great Migration series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence, see the websites of the owners, the Phillips Collection
The Museum of Modern Art One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series.
1980 Frederick Douglass School Building
Grace Smith was a student at Frederick Douglass School. She graduated from Woodward High School and the University of Cincinnati. She studied Education. She married William Slade. Mrs. Slade returned to Douglass School as a teacher for 43 years. Grace Slade suggested the name of Frederick Douglass School in 1902. She was president of the Cincinnati Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs and helped to buy the Federated Clubhouse at 1010 Chapel Street. Frederick Douglass students helped to plant bushes there in the spring of 2018. She was active in Brown Chapel AME Church, which was on the same block as her home, and in its missionary society.
Grace Smith Slade lived her entire 81 years in a house on Park Avenue one block north of Douglass School.
For more information, see Grace Smith Slade
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Douglass school library
Lucille Pitts ran the Frederick Douglass School Library. She started in 1911. She was the first African American librarian in the city. Grownups used the library too. In those days the Walnut Hills branch library was mostly for white people.
For more information, see Frederick Douglass School Library 1911
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Lawrence Hawkins, Ph. D.
Lawrence Hawkins went to Frederick Douglass School. He graduated from Walnut Hills High School. He graduated from UC too. He joined the army in 1942. He flew with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. They were the first African American fighter and bomber pilots. He came back to Cincinnati. He taught for CPS. He earned his master’s degree from UC. He became the principal at Achs Junior High. He earned his Ph. D. at UC. He went on to teach at UC. Dr. Hawkins became the first African American dean at the University.
For more information, see Lawrence C. Hawkins, Ph. D.
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Douglass Colony 1927 – on Gilbert Avenue
By the late 1920’s, there were too many African American students to fit in the main Frederick Douglass School building. CPS bought some houses on Gilbert Avenue and made them a school. They called it the Frederick Douglass Colony School.
For more information, see Frederick Douglass Colony School 1927
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Dr. James H. Robinson, Sr.
James Robinson moved to Cincinnati in 1915. He came to teach at Frederick Douglass School. He had graduated from Fisk University, a Historically Black College. He graduated again from Yale University. He earned a master’s degree and later a Ph. D. in sociology from Yale. Dr. Robinson organized a huge survey of African Americans in Cincinnati. He asked African American railroad workers to question folk moving to Cincinnati in the Great Migration. He talked to real estate agents who sold homes to Blacks. Cincinnati teachers made 20,000 telephone interviews. Dr. Robinson went on to start the Negro Civic Welfare Association in Cincinnati.
For more information, see James H. Robinson, Sr.
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Dr. Jennie Porter
Jennie Porter went to Frederick Douglass School. She was here in the 1890’s. She graduated from Hughes High School. Then she became a teacher at Douglass. She studied at the University of Cincinnati while she taught at Douglass. In 1928 she got a Ph. D. in education. She was the first African American women to earn that honor at UC. She was the fourth in the United States! Dr. Porter became the principal of the Harriet Beecher Stowe School for African American children.
For more information, see Jennie Davis Porter
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Garden Club 1920
Douglass kids started to garden a long time ago. Here is a picture of the Garden Club in 1920. The club won a city prize in 1910. We still have a garden club.
For more information see Douglass School Garden Club, 1910
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1911 Frederick Douglass School Building
In 1911, there were too many African American students to fit in the old building. Cincinnati Public Schools built a beautiful new Frederick Douglass School. The neighborhood used the school as a community center. Students from all over Cincinnati could come to Douglass.
For more information see Frederick Douglass School Building 1911
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Sarah Gibson Jones
Sarah Gibson was born in the South in 1845. That was before the Civil War ended slavery. But Sarah and her parents were free. The family moved to Cincinnati where everyone was free. Sarah went to African American schools. She began teaching in the city in 1863. She taught at the new school in Walnut Hills from 1875 until 1911 — 36 years! While she was there, the teachers named the school Frederick Douglass.
For more information see Sarah Gibson Jones
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DeHart Hubbard went to Frederick Douglass School. He ran. He won races. He ran and jumped at Walnut Hills High School. He ran and jumped at the University of Michigan. He went to the 1924 summer Olympics in Paris, France. He won the long jump. The first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal came from Douglass School! Hubbard later set the world record in the long jump. In Cincinnati he set a world record in the 100-yard dash. DeHart Hubbard returned to his home town and served as the supervisor of the Department of Colored Work for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission.
For more information see DeHart Hubbard
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Douglass kids started to dance a long time ago. Here is a picture of some girls in 1916. 75 students joined the program. The picture came from the Crisis magazine. The Crisis was the magazine of the NAACP. We still dance at school.
For more information, see Frederick Douglass School performance, 1916
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African American kids went to their own schools in Cincinnati before and after the Civil War. Walnut Hills had an African American private school from the 1850’s. Walnut Hills joined the city in 1870. CPS built two new separate schools in Walnut Hills. The Elm Street Colored School opened in 1872. In 1902 the teachers named it Frederick Douglass School.
For more information see Elm Street School, the Frederick Douglass School building, 1872
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