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ST. LOUIS – Teachers who shape and pour into students are essential for the next generation’s confidence and future.

There is a glimpse of hope for the historic Sumner High School in The Ville neighborhood. It was on the list of St. Louis Public Schools to permanently close, but the passionate and proud alumni put together a plan to save it. It’s a three-year plan aimed at boosting enrollment and helping students become well-rounded with exposure to the arts. 

The alumni want to preserve the history of the first Black school west of the Mississippi River. Aside from a long list of notable alumni like Arthur Robert Ashe Jr., Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Ethel Hedgemon Lyle, and Dick Gregory just to name a few – every single person who walked through those doors said it was an institution of pride where their teachers told them there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. For now, that history is here to stay.

Blair’s Black History Moment highlights the history, success, and contributions of African Americans, both past and present, across the St. Louis region. If you would like to highlight a part of Black History dear to the St. Louis area, please send an email to as we recognize people, places, and events crucial to building the St. Louis community.