Longing for a good education, 12 black students banded together in 1900 to form Garnet High School. The school, located in Charleston, WV, was a three-story, brick structure and all-black students attended. Grades 1-12 were taught under the direction of the first principal, Charles Wesley Boyd.
The school was named after Henry Highland Garnet, who was an ex-slave from Maryland. Classrooms grew fast and soon there was not enough space to house all the students. In 1927, a separate senior high school was built. The school published their own school newspapers.
Throughout the era of segregation, Garnet High School provided an excellent education for its students despite the limitations which developed under the “separate but equal” system. The school produced many notable alumni including the Reverend Leon Sullivan, medical pioneer John C. Norman, Jr., and television personality Tony Brown.
Over the course of fifty-six years, the school graduated 2, 438 students. The school officially closed its doors in 1956 after the integration of public schools. The school has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1990.