doris m. lessing

Doris M. Johnson High School

Doris M. Johnson High School is a public high school located in northeastern Baltimore City. It was created in the 2003-2004 school year as a result of the breakup of Lake Clifton/Eastern High School into smaller high schools. It is considered a neighborhood high school and has adopted the "Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound" program.


When the school first opened in it was named School #426 at Lake Clifton until the 2005 school year when the Baltimore City School Board passed a resolution renaming School to Doris M. Johnson High School. Doris M. Johnson was a Baltimore community leader for the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community, she started the local Adopt-A-House program and was a BCPSS School Board member and a member of the Board of Elections. It was decided by students, staff and the community to rename the school to remind future generations of Ms. Johnson's contributions.

History Channel Relationship

Save Our History

In May 2006, the History Channel's Save Our History initiative mentioned in their newsletter Doris M. Johnson High School. In 2005, the newsletter stated a Save Our History grant was awarded to the school in partnership of the Maryland Historical Society that funds a project that introduces students to the history of Clifton Park. The Clifton Park community was once a center of Baltimore City for "business, entertainment, worship, and strong social familial, and community pride" but has recently become impoverished and in History Channel's words "its proud history was in danger of being lost."

Guidance for the project was given by Doris M. Johnson's principal, Tricia Rock, history teacher Michael Douglas, and Jennifer Yaremczak from the Maryland Historical Society. The students obtained oral histories from community members and thoroughly researched the history of the public park surrounding the Lake Clifton-Eastern complex, the history of the African American cemetery in the community, movie theaters, baseball parks, and the histories of the origin of local street names. A book was produced by students titled "My Neighborhood: A Social and Cultural History of Northeast Baltimore" which is available with transcripts of the oral histories at Doris Johnson and the MHS.

Civil Rights in Baltimore

In 2006, another project was conducted by the school and the MHS, the project focused on the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, the integration of Gwynn Oak Park, the Northwood Shopping Center, the Route 40 Freedom Rides, the Holy Day Riots of 1968, and the Cambridge Race Riots of the 1960s. Students again, collected oral histories from community members regarding their experiences of the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement. Students wrote essays that was compiled into a book and website as well.

Unchained Talent

The after-school performing arts program started in the 2004 school year by volunteer Christina Youngston, and the club was given the name Unchained Talent by students. Unchained Talent is unique in that the school system does not provide the drama program for the school; Unchained Talent is a non-profit and sustains itself through donations and charitable giving.

The first theatrical production Unchained Talent did occurred in December 2004 in front of an audience of 100 and it made front-page news in the Baltimore Sun newspaper. A local news affiliate did a segment and it drew attention from local Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, the Mayor's Office and United States Congressman Elijah Cummings.

Since 2004, Unchained Talent has put on two to three productions per school year, most of them student written. In 2005, Unchained Talent had a big milestone in that it was awarded a Open Society Institute-Baltimore Community Fellowship to stabilize the program for 18 months.

As of 2006, Unchained Talent is expanding to include students from Heritage High School, another school in the Lake Clifton Campus and has recently opened a student-led recording studio.

External links

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