Jessie Hunter Black Elementary School was built in 1954. It was designed by Leaper and Gilbert to take the burden off of Field Elementary School.
The school is named after Jessie Hunter Black. Black was born on July 15, 1853. She is credited as the first public school teacher in Wichita around 1871.
She taught school in the old Presbyterian Church on Wichita Street. There is a small monument dedicated to the original site at second and Wichita.
The building itself stands proudly at Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum. It has a unique history, check it out: https://www.oldcowtown.org/Pages/Residential.aspx
According to “The Development of Education in Sedgwick County” written by Osa Fisher Rankin. Mrs. Black was paid $40.00 a month. The author added, “Mrs. Black may congratulate herself in having so successfully started public instruction in Wichita.”
Black died at the age of 70 on August 3, 1923. She is interred with her husband, James, in the Highland Cemetery Mausoleum. In a peaceful little room with a beautiful stained glass window.
While I was researching the story on Buckner Elementary I stopped at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Mrs. Black’s picture hung in the hall as a founding member of the Woman’s Guild (1877-1888).
Projects to remodel Black Elementary happened in 1968, 1974 and 2003.
In 1993, the school board tweaked the name and created Black Traditional Elementary Magnet School.
Did you go to Black? Add a fond memory or talk about your favorite teacher or one of the school’s traditions in the comments.
To check out Wichita’s other schools
Visit Be True To Your School.