David T. Howard opened in 1947 (formerly an elementary school of the same name) as Atlanta’s second high school dedicated to the African-American community. The only other high school for African-American’s was Booker T. Washington high school which remains in use. At one point, David T. Howard high school housed over 2,000 pupils!
The Atlanta Consitution regularly posted graduation updates of David T. Howard every year of its existence as a high school. Notable alumni include:
- Eldrin Bell – Former Chief of Atlanta Police Dept
- Nathaniel Bronner, SR – Philanthropist and World renown leader in the black hair care industry. Every native Atlantan is familiar with his brand.
- Clarence Cooper – Judge of Georgia Court of Appeals; Federal Judge of U. S. District
- Walter “Walt” Frazier – Profession basketball player for the New York Nicks.
- “Bitsy” Grant – Famous tennis champion who has a park named for him on Howell Mill Road.
- Louis Johnson – Attended David T. Howard elementary became a Tuskegee Airmen.
- Vernon Jordan – Accomplished former Executive Director of Urban League and close adviser to President William Jefferson Clinton’s.
- Lonnie King – Civil Rights Activist
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – Civil Rights Activist, minister, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Herman Russell – Millionaire Atlanta construction baron and distinguished member of 100 Black Men.
- Carl Wright – Entertainer, TV, Movie, Radio personality
- James Williams – Famous ParaOlympian
- Margaret Matthews Wilburn – Georgia Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Olympic Bronze Medalist, World Championship gold medalist.
Despite the successes of David T. Howard High, poor attendance caused the school to shutter its doors forever in 1975. After peaking at over 2,250 students, the school’s attendance dropped to a little under 500. One could blame the rising crime in the area, but one could mostly assume that the desegregation of Atlanta Public Schools contributed to the decline of David T. Howard HS. With more options of schools to attend, African-American students enrolled elsewhere, making David T. Howard a relic of a forgotten segregated past.