collis p huntington

Collis P. Huntington High School

Collis P. Huntington High School, commonly referred to as just Huntington High School (opened in 1927) was a black high school located in the East End section of Newport News, Virginia, USA during the era of racial segregation. After desegregation, it became an integrated intermediate school (eighth and ninth grades), and in 1981 was converted to a middle school (sixth through eighth grades). The school was named after the shipping and railroad pioneer, Collis P. Huntington, who founded the local shipyards, the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, at one time the largest shipbuilding concern in the world.

Lutrelle Palmer, the principal of Huntington High, also a strong NAACP advocate, whose own wages were supplemented by voluntary parental contributions, in November 1937 chastised his daughter for accepting a job in Newport News that paid her a third less per month than a beginning white teacher earned. This led to a unanimous vote by the Virginia State Teachers Association to file equal-pay lawsuits in partnership with the NAACP. This move paved the way to a statewide campaign attacking the legal basis for school segregation. Palmer was sacked from the school in 1943 for his activism.

Thad Madden, the athletics coach, led Huntington High to 26 Virginia Interscholastic Association state track championships.

Notable alumni

  • Dr. Walter Nathaniel Ridley (1910-1996), first black graduate of the University of Virginia (June, 1953), former President of the American Teachers Association (1944-47), first black student initiated into a University honorary society (Kappa Delta Pi, a professional education society), head of psychology department, Virginia State College (1943-1958), Dean of Saint Paul's College, Lawrenceville, Virginia (1957-1958), President of Elizabeth City State Teachers College (name changed to Elizabeth City College in 1963), North Carolina (1958-1968), Professor (later chairman) of the Department of Secondary Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania (1968-1987, emeritus).
  • Former U.S. Energy Secretary, Hazel R. O'Leary (1937-)
  • Lutrelle "Lu" Palmer, Jr. (1922-2004) (class of '38), son of the school's principal, political commentator, author and editor of the "Lu's Notebook" radio program, inducted into Chicago State University Black Writers' Hall of Fame in 1999.


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