AfriGeneas Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions Forum
Pearl School Nashville TN
PEARL SCHOOL (1883-1983)
Pearl High School opened its doors in the fall of 1883 on South Summer Street (Fifth Avenue, South). The newly constructed public school for Negroes was named for Joshua F. Pearl, the city's first superintendent of public schools. T. W. Haley, a white principal, and white teachers directed Pearl (grades one through eight) until 1887, when black teachers were employed.
On September 25, 1884, Nashville's last Negro city councilman of the era, James C. Napier, persuaded the council to adopt a resolution to provide high-school classes for Negro citizens. The Board of Education did not act on the resolution until 1886, when Mrs. Sandy Porter attempted to enroll her son, James Rice Porter, in the all-white public Fogg High School. The city's refusal to admit James and other Negro youths to the city's only high school forced the Negro community to hold mass meetings. A mass meeting held on September 14, 1886, at Clark Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church petitioned the Board of Education "to as speedily as possible consummate permanent high school facilities for the rapidly growing [population of] colored youth...."