Carbondale Crispus Attucks HS “Bluebirds”

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                         The History of Carbondale Crispus Attucks High School

Carbondale (population 30,069) was founded in 1852 by Daniel Harmon Brush, John Asgill Conner, and Dr. William Richert after the trio had bought 360 acres of land along the Illinois Central RR, with the purpose of founding a new town between Marion and Murphysboro, and to be a midpoint on the railroad between Makanda and DeSoto. That move turned out to be a stroke of genius as it linked the southern part of Illinois to the rest of the country, acting as a mercantile and transport center, and for shipping the fruit and coal that was produced in Southern Illinois. The town incorporated itself by the time that the Civil War broke out and became the home of Carbondale College, which later became Southern Illinois College, Southern Illinois Normal University, which today is known as Southern Illinois University.

The University’s growth brought more people to town, and with it, educational insitututions such as Attucks High School, which is named after Crispus Attucks, the runaway slave who died in 1750 while protesting against the British in colonial America. African-American schools in Carbondale have been part of the community since 1857 when the first schools was built, one of which was later added on to in 1874. In compliance with the Illinois Common School Law of 1855, that building was used for the growing number of African-American children.

Attucks opened in 1920 with five students, housed at Attucks Elementary School. By 1933, the enrollment grew to 100 students that elementary students were moved to portable classrooms and nearby churches. Attucks High School would move into a new building by 1948, and stay there until the school’s enrollment was intregrated into Carbondale Community High School in the fall of 1964. The status of the 1948 building is unknown after being used for vocational training classes over several years, while the Attucks Grade School building was torn down in 1975.

FACTS ABOUT CARBONDALE CRISPUS ATTUCKS HIGH SCHOOL

Year opened:                            1920 (5 students)

Year new building opened:    1948

Year closed:                              1964

School nickname:                    “Bluebirds”

School colors:                            Blue & White

Yearbook name:                       “The Attuckian” or “The Nest”

School song:                             “Attucks!” (see words below, provded by Carlotta Algee-Stancil)

Attucks! We love old Attucks.

We love her grounds and her building, too;

All here are fine and steady

And her teachers all are ever brave and true.

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Her sun is always shining,

Her skies are always blue.

Attucks! We love old Attucks.

And pledge our Loyalty to you.

Attucks! Of thee dear Attucks.

We raise out voices in lofty praise,

Long may you live and prosper,

And your students will you flag of honor raise.

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Attucks, Beloved Attucks,

Arrayed in honor you’re brave and true

Attucks! We love old Attucks.

And we hope to ever love you too.

ATHLETICS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

According to the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org), the Bluebirds competed in boys’ basketball and track, although it is possible they could have competed in baseball as well. There is no record of trophies or plaques won by Attucks in baseball or any other extracurricular activity at the state tournament level, so we are in need of more information about other sports and activities offered at Attucks High School.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

In the 15 years that the Bluebirds were involved in the IHSA state tournament (since the 1948-49 school year), Attucks won 12 district titles (seven of them consecutively) and two regionals before closing its doors. Prior to that, the school finished in the top five of the Negro National Basketball Tournament on five occasions.

The school was a member of the Southern Illinois Conference of Colored High Schools (SICCHS), playing with Murphysboro DouglassHerrin ColpDuQuoin LincolnDewmaine, and Dubois in one division. The Bluebirds won nine titles between 1928 and 1944! For more information about the conference, see “THE GREAT CONFERENCES” page on this site. Information about the win-loss records and names of head coaches from those district and regional winners are needed.

1926-27      SICCHS Tourney Runners-Up

1927-28      SICCHS Tourney Champs             Coach Coach J. Q. Clark

Attucks’ 1927-28 Champions
A group of people posing for a photo

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Photo from the Chicago Defender Newspaper (Submitted by Robert Pruter)

1930-31      SICCHS Tourney Runners-Up       Coach Coach J. Q. Clark

1932-33      SICCHS Tourney Champs

1933-34      SICCHS Tourney Champs

1934-35      SICCHS Tourney Champs

1935-36      3rd Place at Negro National Tournament in Roanoke, VA

1936-37      5th Place at Negro National Tournament in Gary, IN

                       SICCHS Tourney Champs

1938-39      5th Place at Negro National Tournament in Tuskegee, AL

                       SICCHS Tourney Champs

1940-41     SICCHS Tourney Champs

1941-42     SICCHS Tourney Champs

1942-43     SICCHS Tourney Champs

1948-49     District Champions

1949-50     District Champions

1951-52     District Champions

                      Regional Champions

                       (top 64 in the state)

1952-53     District Champions

1953-54     District Champions

1954-55     District Champions

1955-56     District Champions

1956-57     District Champions

1957-58     District Champions

1959-60     District Champions

                       Regional Champions

1962-63     District Champions

1963-64     District Champions

BOYS’ TRACK

The Bluebird tracksters had their share of successes on the cinder surfaces, winning five district titles during the 1930’s and 1940’s as well as taking team titles in the SICCHS on five occasions. Again, we are in need of names of coaches and top performers.

1927     SICCHS Champions

1928     SICCHS Champions          Coach Coach J. Q. Clark

1929     SICCHS Champions          Coach Coach J. Q. Clark

1933     SICCHS Champions

1934     District Champions

1935     District Champions

               SICCHS Champions

1937     SICCHS Co-Champions

1939     District Champions

1944     District Champions

1945     District Champions

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT ATTUCK GRADUATES

Of the 633 graduates of Attucks High School, 42 percent of them went on to college with 40 percent of that number graduating with degrees. Nine of them became administrators, and 44 more were teachers.

SPECIAL ATHLETES AND ALUMNI

*John Arthur Algee, Sr. (Class of 1938)

(February 10, 1922 – October 27, 2002)

Mr. Algee was a three-sport standout at Carbondale Crispus Attucks High School, lettering in football, basketball, and track. After graduating from Crispus Attucks High School in 1938, Mr. Algee attended the following schools of higher learning and attained this extensive education:

College:

Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio – 1938-1939

Bachelor of Science Degree – S.I.U. Carbondale, Illinois – 1947

Master of Science Degree – University of Illinois – Champaign, Illinois – 1957

Additional graduate studies:

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

McAllister College, Kansas

University of Missouri – Columbia, Columbia, Missouri;

University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Mr. Algee would go on to coach at the high school level, leading the charge as head basketball coach at Madison Dunbar High School from 1947-1952. Coach Algee’s team won the ILL.-MO Conference title in 1952!

SPECIAL THANKS…

To Brad Pace, whose article about the “Spirit of Attucks Schools” in December 1998 helped shape this page about Attucks. You can read more about Attucks by clicking on the following link: http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/1998/ihy981209/html

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR MORE INFORMATION FROM YOU…

If you know something that we don’t already have about Attucks HS, such as win-loss records, coaches’ names, pictures of the school and its teams, or even the words to the fight song, then we want to hear from you.

You can either email your information to dr.veeman@gmail.com or send it to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, Il  60631


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