Today, the former Frederick Douglass High School building is overgrown with wildflowers, weeds and scrubby trees. A jumble of broken concrete marks the front entrance.
But, having served as the segregated high school for the city's black students from 1934 to 1955, the site was a "hub" of education and culture for the black community, according to longtime Oklahoma City educator Thelma R. Parks. And, if some metro residents are successful, it will become that again.
"Pride of the northeast " we are hoping that it is on its way back," Parks said. "And with this being a part of the historical preservation, we hope that we can look back with pride and say this was the beginning of a new beginning."
Marjorie Young, chief operating officer of Oklahoma City Northeast, hopes in two and a half years the building will reopen, renovated, as a black cultural center. Plans include using the auditorium as a venue, she said, and to showcase and educate about the black community's contributions.
"There's a rich history we would like to recapture into that cultural center," Parks said, "and then give our young people an opportunity to know that we weren't sleeping "¦ that we were plowing the ground for them to come in and enjoy and build on what was established for them." "Emily Jerman