Sumner High School / Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences
In the summer of 2005 (July 20-24), Sumner High School, later Sumner Academy of Arts & Science, celebrated it’s 100th Anniversary since students first walked through the doors at 9th and Washington Boulevard. A number of activities were planned for the 2005-2006 school year in celebration.
Sumner Named to National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places. (.pdf)
School Board Journal: July, 1942 – Functional and Artistic Schoolhousing in Kansas City, Kansas by F L Schlagle and L H Brotherson
- 8th and Oakland (1610 N. 8th Street)
- 22nd Annual Report of the Board of Education of the City of Kansas City, Kansas for the Year 1906, 1907 and 1908: p. 46, Twelve-room brick, Ninth Street and Washington Avenue
- 1912 City Directory: Sumner High (colored) – 9th nw corner Washington Blvd – John Marquess, principal; John J. Lewis, vice-principal
Other Names: Manual Training High School
A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin’, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (Copy located in the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave, KCKs, 913-551-3280). The school district is sincerely grateful to Mr. William W. Boone, Ms. Josephine C. Vandiver, and Mr. Jackson C. Van Trece for their research and preparation of this material.
Excerpt: “In 1905, a school named Manual Training High School was started in Kansas City, Kansas. The name, Manual Training High School, did not satisfy members of the Black community so much so that a meeting of ministers, attorneys, teachers and members of the Board of Education was held in the home of Doctor Corrvine Patternson. It was in this meeting that the name of Manual Training High School was dropped and a more appropriate name of Sumner High School was selected by the group. The name of Sumner was chosen to honor Charles Sumner (1811-1884) who was a member of the United States Senate from 1851 to 1874. Charles Sumner was a very strong abolitionist who fought for the rights of the Black people. Students, who first attended Sumner High School in 1905, came from the old KCKs High School and the old Central High School in KCKs.” The Story of Sumner High School by Mr. William Boone
Profiles of African American Personalities in Wyandotte County, Kansas from A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin’, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (.pdf)
In 1923, the family of Cordell D. Meeks (first black District Court Judge of Kansas) moved to Kansas City, Kansas.
“In the spring of 1930, I graduated from Northeast Jr High and entered Sumner High School in the fall. The principal of Sumner at that time was John A. Hodge, a brilliant educator. As a result of I.Q. tests taken prior to enrollment, the classes were divided into groups such as 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, and 3-2. Students who were in the higher I.Q. group, had higher standards to meet and were required to work a little harder, but were proud to be so identified.
I remember my senior English teacher, Scottie P. Davis because, in my opinion, she was the best English teacher I ever had. Grammatical error was an abomination to her and she let everyone know it. Miss Davis had the ability to instill in her students a deep seated and burning desire to excel in and master the spoken and written English language.
Prior to 1932, there was ‘Hobo Day’ at Sumner. Its only purpose was to have all students dress as hoboes, come to school and get a laugh. On the last Hobo Day, one boy came to school dressed only in his long underwear. He was suspended from school immediately. That incident put a damper ont he tradition as far as the school administration was concerned.
Attempting to substitute an uplifting event for Hobo Day, I discussed with some of my classmates a celebration to be called ‘Ambition Day’. The purpose of the event was to have students come to school on a certain day dressed and acting like a person in whatever business, occupation or profession they intended to follow in the future. Students came to school dressed as persons in all walks and categories of life. Judges, doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, nurses, journalists, secretaries, mechanics, etc. were imitated on that day.”
To Heaven through Hell, Cordell D. Meeks, Corcell Publishers Inc., 1986 [Information furnished by courtesy of Mrs. Josephine Vandiver Boone] For further excerpts, see Armstrong School, Garrison School, and Northeast Junior High.
Judge Meeks’ book is well recommended. It is an autobiography of the First Black District Court Judge of Kansas. It contains information not only about Judge Cordell D. Meeks, but the areas and times in which he lived.
1879 – Kansas legislature passed law authorizing mixed high schools.
Legislation in 1879 states, in part, “The board of education shall have power … to organize and maintain separate schools for the education of white and colored children, except in high school, where no discrimination shall be made on account of color.” (Laws of Kansas, 1879, Chap. 81, Sec. 1)
In 1905, legislation was passed that authorized segregation in Kansas City, Kansas high schools only – not the rest of the State of Kansa s.
“The board of education shall have power to … organize and maintain separate schools for the education of white and colored children, including the high schools in Kansas City , Kan.; no discrimination on account of color shall be made in high schools, except as provided herein. (Laws of Kansas , 1905, Chap. 414, Sec. 1.)
Kansas Supreme Court Law Library
301 SW 10th St.
Topeka, KS 66612 -1598
1904 – April: A white boy was killed by an African American boy at a park. There was anger, hostility, and community agitation for separate schools by white patrons of the district. At the Kansas City High School, white students attended in the mornings; African American students, taught by African American teachers, attended in the afternoon.
1905 – February 22: Legislature passed a bill (reluctantly signed by the Governor) authorizing segregated high schools in the Kansas City, Kansas area. Bonds to be issued. To be known as Manual Training High School. Land was purchased on northwest corner of Ninth and Washington for new school.
1906 – September: Building occupied, although not completed. Named for Charles S. Sumner, prominent abolitionist and senator of mid 1800’s. J. E. Patterson was first principal.
1908-1909 – Four rooms added on North. G. R. Spaulding, contractor.
1918-1921 – Influx of African Americans from the South. Facilities provided by building portables and dividing auditorium into rooms.
1923-24 – Erected gymnasium.
March: First P.T.A. Mrs. Harry C. White, President
Junior high students in afternoon until Northeast Junior High was ready.
1925 – Gymnasium in use for first time. Douglass Annex used Sumner classrooms.
1932 – New athletic field dedicated October 28th. Small plot on northwest corner of 8th and Oakland purchased for high school.
1934-1950’s – African American students from Johnson County, as well as the Edwardsville and White Church areas were bused to Sumner High School and Northeast Junior High School by the McCallop Bus Service.
1936 – Boiler explosion killed engineer.
1937 – September 22: Sumner, using every inch of available space for classes, was declared eligible for a WPA grant for building a new school.
1938 – January 24: Board to issue bonds for $751,000 for site and building. Additional grounds bought at 8th and Oakland. Joseph Radotinsky, architect.
1940 – January 9: Dedication. Payne Ratner, speaker, 24 teachers 800 students. John A. Hodge, principal. Occupied January 2.
Marie Frye Mouton of KCKs tells us that in the 1940s and 1950s the old Sumner High School building at 9th and Washington Blvd was used for activities for African American youth. They played basketball, games, etc. She said the youth called it “The Rec.”
1941 – Training in sheet metal work and welding for war workers. Had parachute factory and storage in old buildings.
March 15: Some Northeast Junior High classes meeting temporarily in Sumner because of crowded conditions at Northeast.
1964 – Field house athletic field added. Dressing and miscellaneous physical facilities.
1975 – New gymnasium, cafeteria and student center.
1978 – Closed as Sumner High School. Students reassigned as part of court-ordered desegregation. Reopened as Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, a magnet school for highly motivated and academically talented students. Renovation of classrooms, library and science rooms.
1979 – Renovation of classrooms, music department, art department, mechanical drawing.
1985 – New library in building core.
1994 – Portable buildings added.
1997 – August 19: Kansas City, KS removed from court-ordered desegregation. Sumner remains Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, a magnet school for highly motivated and academically talented students.
2002 – Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Sumner was part of Phase II, which was completed in the summer of 2002.
2003 – September: Academy wins prestigious national award – Sumner Academy received the US Dept of Education’s NCLB – Blue Ribbon Schools Award for its scoring on the Kansas state assessments, making it just one of four schools in Kansas to earn the distinction. The Kansan, 27 Sept 2003
2004 – Received a “Great IDEAS” grant (funded/sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Fund) for the 2004-05 school year, which encourages teachers in SLC’s (Small Learning Communities) to work together to develop innovative programs and projects to improve student learning. Received $5,000.
2005 – In the summer of 2005 (July 20-24), Sumner High School, later Sumner Academy of Arts & Science, celebrated it’s 100th Anniversary since students first walked through the doors at 9th and Washington Boulevard. A number of activities are planned for the 2005-2006 school year in celebration.
2005 – Sumner Named to National Register of Historic Places and the Register of Historic Kansas Places.