University of South Carolina Honors the History of Booker T. Washington High School

Mem2Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia, South Carolina, one of the first public high schools for African Americans in the city, closed in 1974. The building was purchased by the University of South Carolina. The school’s auditorium is the only building that remains from the original four-acre high school complex. And that building has been renovated and includes permanent displays to preserve the history of the high school.

The renovated auditorium has seats and stage curtains in the black and gold colors of Booker T. Washington High. The venue will also be used as a lecture hall. An elevator and new heating and air conditioning systems were installed. The exterior was stripped to reveal the old schoolhouse brick look which existed when the building was constructed in 1916.

The renovations were made possible by a $1.7 million gift from Rev. Dr. Solomon Jackson Jr., an 1971 alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School. Rev. Jackson stated, “I am proud that this building will preserve the school’s great legacy for generations to come. I want the world to know about this great school that has provided an excellent education for thousands of students.”

Below is a video of Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, and Henry Hopkins, president of the Booker T. Washington Foundation, speaking at the dedication of the renovated building.


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