Crispus Attucks High School was built in 1927 as the city of Indianapolis’ first and only African American high school. Despite protests from the Better Indianapolis League (a civic organization of progressive black citizens), the school board approved the construction of the school on a site on West Street (currently Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street) near Indiana Avenue. Original plans called for the school to be named Thomas Jefferson High School but, after several petitions, the name was changed to honor Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native American descent, and the first victim of the 1770 Boston Massacre.
Enrollment at the school started at 1,345 in 1927 and by 1934 had exceeded 2,000. Several additions were completed as the number of students grew. After all, this single school had to serve all of the African American students for the entire city. In 1949, school segregation was outlawed in Indiana, but Crispus Attucks remained almost exclusively African American until busing began in the 1970s to achieve racially integrated schooling. In the 1980s, Crispus Attucks High School was converted into a junior high school and continues to function as such today. In 1986, the local school board created the Crispus Attucks Museum to house artifacts from the high school and to recognize the accomplishments of African Americans at the local, state, national, and international level. The Museum is housed within the school but is a separate institution.
To learn more about the school’s legendary basketball team, make sure to check out the entry on The Crispus Attucks High School Tigers here on Discover Indiana!