This Week in Sapulpa History: Booker T. Washington High School Wins!

Rachel Whitney, Curator, 
Sapulpa Historical Museum

In 1948, the Booker T. Washington High School described itself as “highly industrialized:”

“Stated in the Booker T. Washington High School 1948 Yearbook: “The Booker T. Washington High School is highly industrialized. “The following courses are offered: two years of typing including shorthand, two years of household service, four years of vocational agriculture, three years of home economics and vocational home economics, three years of industrial arts, and a course in maintenance mechanics for veterans. In addition to these courses, the curriculum offers all of the subjects required for meeting state regulations and for preparing students for college entrance.

The Booker T. Washington High School, as shown in the 1948 yearbook.

“In the annual Interscholastic Meet, sponsored by the Langston University Alumni Association, the students of Sapulpa have made an enviable record.” The Interscholastic Meet for Oklahoma’s African-American schools began its competition circa 1942.

“During the five years of the Meet, the students from Booker T. have taken First Place in every contest in the ‘B’ Division. In 1946 and 1947, they won the sweepstake trophy which is won without regard to the size of the school.”

The announcements for Sapulpa’s very own to win the Meets continued year after year. The Meets consisted of “standardized tests were given in every subject taught, including music and speech arts.”

The article further stated these subjects were the standard courses offered for African-American schools.

Sapulpa’s students “had little trouble winning in the ‘B’ Division where they contested against such cities as McAlester, Guthrie, Luther, and a number of schools.” Principal D. Adolph Williams once stated, “The credit for this fine showing goes to the hard work of the faculty and the spirit and will to work of the students.”

This week in Sapulpa history, in 1952, it was announced, “Booker T. Students Take 10th Scholastic Contest.”

Sapulpa Herald, April 30, 1952.

Since the establishment of the Meet, the Sapulpa school took home the first place award. “In their division of the annual contest at Langston U,” Sapulpa school “under D.A. Williams, principal, has not only won the ‘B’ Division (based on enrollment) 10 times, but has also won the ‘Open’ (for all divisions) contest twice.”

In the ‘Open’ Division of 1952, Sapulpa’s Booker T. Washington High School took fourth place, “behind Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Wewoka. Weowoka nudged the local students out by one point.

“Twenty students from Booker T. participated in the contest in which more than 500 students form 31 schools took part. The local school entered 29 of the 30 subjects and scored in all but four.”

Sapulpa Herald, May 15, 1947.