The Secondary School Study Web Exhibitions

This project was funded by The Spencer Foundation and the Museum of Education
with research support provided by the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Craig Kridel, Research Director, Museum of Education
Alice Epperson, Assistant Research Director, Nashville, TN
N. Carolyn Thompson, Assistant Research Director, Americus, GA
Thelma Rush, Assistant Research Director, Vicksburg, MS


School Vignette On-line Exhibitions


Atlanta University Laboratory School
Atlanta, Georgia
Booker T. Washington High School
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Booker T. Washington High School
Columbia, South Carolina
D. Webster Davis Laboratory School
Ettrick, Virginia
Drewry Practice High School
Talladega, Alabama

Dudley High School
Greensboro, North Carolina
Huntington High School
Newport News, Virginia
I. M. Terrell High School
Fort Worth, Texas

Lincoln High School
Tallahassee, FL
Magnolia Avenue High School
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Moultrie High School for Negro Youth
Moultrie, Georgia
Natchitoches Parish Training School
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Pearl High School
Nashville, Tennessee
Southern University Demonstration School
Scotlandville, Louisiana
Staley High School
Americus, Georgia
State Teachers College Laboratory School
Montgomery, Alabama
William Grant High School

Covington, Kentucky

The Museum of Education’s Web Exhibitions center primarily on the academic life of individual schools during the 1940s and early 1950s, the focus of the Secondary School Study. Our vignettes serve not to lessen the accomplishments and accolades from prior or subsequent decades nor do they diminish the significance of the social and athletic dimensions of school life. Instead, the Museum presents web exhibitions of the Secondary School Study schools as a way to feature the experimental and academic efforts of progressive educators during the 1940s. Since these vignettes were not prepared to serve as school histories, we encourage alumni and historians to prepare their own comprehensive school accounts, histories, and memoirs of these important educational institutions.

I greatly appreciate the participation of the many individuals who agreed to be interviewed for the exhibitions. Not all interviewees appear in these exhibits due, primarily, to the vagrancies of the mail system and my inability to obtain formal permissions to include their quotations and images.

These web exhibitions have been prepared for a general audience and have not used professional terminology from the field of education. Our accounts are intentionally free of detailed bibliographic citations. I am currently writing a scholarly account of this project that follows accepted bibliographic practices.

Further, these exhibitions are conceived within a tradition of progressive education where a fruitful experience raises as many questions as it answers. Thus, the information on the various sites has been crafted intentionally to be suggestive—to allow important questions "to float" through the exhibitions rather than to be answered with a false sense of certainty. These sites are works-in-progress and represent an "educational research charrette" as additional historical material is discovered and fresh memories, recollections, and insights come forth from participants and researchers.

Craig Kridel, Curator

Contextual Information

Introduction to the Secondary School Study

Progressive Education in the Black High School
(Rockefeller Archive Center Research Report)


The Museum of Education is pleased to be able to distribute its 2015 exhibition catalog, Progressive Education in Black High Schools: The Secondary School Study, 1940-1946,
as a pdf file to those Museum patrons who wish to read
in more detail about the Secondary School Study.

Download a pdf.

Understanding Experimentation in 1940s Black High Schools
Secondary School Study Vignettes
Reconciling Conceptions of Progressive Education in 1940s Black High Schools
Reconsidering Human Relations and 1940s Black Youth Studies
William A. Robinson: A Prophet of Social Justice           
Epilogue: Ascertaining the Impact of the Secondary School Study

This research project was completed with funding from the
Spencer Foundation and
The Daniel Tanner Foundation.


Alice Epperson,
associate curator for the Pearl High School research, Nashville, TN



With special thanks to those Museum of Education
Associate Curators who assisted with research visits and with the preparation of materials for these exhibitions

N. Carolyn Thompson,
associate curator for the Staley High School research, Americus, GA


Mary Jo Smiley,
associate curator for the Laboratory High School research, Montgomery, AL

Thelma Brown Rush, associate curator for the Magnolia Avenue High School research, Vicksburg, MS


Brenda James,
associate curator for the Dudley High School research, Greensboro, NC

Alma Loftin Johnson, associate curator for the Natchitoches Parish Training School research, Natchitoches, LA


Cleveland Mayo, associate curator for the Huntington High School research, Newport News, VA


Genevieve Lancaster, associate curator for the Booker T. Washington High School research, Rocky Mount, NC


Beverly Washington and James Mallard, associate curators for the
Terrell High School research, Fort Worth, TX


Dale Williams, associate curator for the Moultrie High School for Negro Youth research,
Moultrie GA  


Eula Cokely, associate curator for the Drewry Practice High School research, Talladega, AL


Sedonia C. Johnson, associate curator for the Southern University A&M College Demonstration School research,
Scotlandville, LA

Fannie Phelps Adams,
associate curator for the
Booker T. Washington High School research, Columbia, SC

In memoriam
Miss Callisto Bell



W. Mack Rush,
associate curator for the Lincoln High School research, Tallahassee, SC


an institutional member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience