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School History

Location: 1510 North 4th Street
Other Location: 4th and Everett
Other Names: Everett
Named After:  Bishop Abram Grant


1923 – September: Old Everett School (built in 1881, picture in logo at upper, right of this page) became a school for African American. Named Grant for Bishop Abram, it was the second school to be called Grant.

Abram L. Grant (1848-1911), a bishop of the A.M.E. Church, was born in slavery in Lake City, Fla. He worked his way through Cookman Institute by clerking in a Jacksonville, Fla. grocery store. In the 1870s he served briefly as inspector of customs in Jacksonville and as a county commissioner in Duval County . In 1878 he moved to Texas, where he became vice-president of Paul Quinn College at Waco. Grant was elected bishop in 1888 and served in the South and West until 1900, when he was transferred to the Midwest. From 1904 to 1911 he was bishop for Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and California, residing in Kansas City, Kan. He was a founder of Payne Theological Seminary in 1891, and also was a trustee of Wilberforce University. Grant had an amicable relationship with Booker T. Washington and generally supported the Tuskegean’s approach to race problems. In 1908 he campaigned for the Republicans at Washington’s request.

October 23: PTA organized. Mrs. C. S. Matthews, first president. Building had 8 rooms, 8 teachers, 6 grades. First principal, Rhoda M. Johnson.

1951 – Three acres purchased at 4th and Freeman.  This land was originally the patent signed by President James Buchanan to Robert Armstrong (son of Silas Armstrong), 1 July 1859, filed 14 March 1866. Note:  At one time Freeman Ave. was called WaWas Street in honor of Joel Walker (WaWas was Mr. Walker’s Wyandot name).

1954 – New building planned. Old building to be abandoned. Raymond Meyn, architect. Must have 15 rooms, kindergarten, office, health and activity rooms.

New site at 1510 N. 4th, between Freeman and Oakland, with entrance on Fourth. Bellanti and Welsh Construction Company, builder.

1955 – January: Work started.

1956 – February: New building occupied.

May 1: Dedication – D. W. Lewis, speaker.

bef 1962 – Razed old building. “Schools in KCKs in Years of Change, 1964-86,” by O. L. Plucker, Superintendent Emeritus, June, 1987

2001 – Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Grant was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.

2004 – Due to overcrowding at M E Pearson and Whittier Elementary Schools, boundary lines were changed and (depending upon the home address), specific students attended Central, Grant or McKinley Elementary Schools in the fall of 2004-05.

“The first Grant Elementary School was constructed in 1881.  This school was located between Fourth and Fifth Streets on Everett Avenue.  The school then was known as the Everett School.  It was also referred to as the “downtown school.”  During the time when the school was the Everett School, many children of the White dignitaries, judges, bankers and attorneys attended this school.  The Everett School was an eight room school with grades one through eight.  By 1923, the population in this area shifted from White to Black families.  The Board of Education decided to change the name of this school from Everett School to Grant Elementary School.  This was so named as the enrollment changed from White children to an enrollment of Black children.  The school was named for African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop – Bishop Abraham Grant.  Bishop Grant died in 1911.  Grant Elementary School, in 1923, was considered to be the fourth largest Black school in Kansas City, Kansas.  The enrollment at that time was 307 Black students.  Until the “new” Grant Elementary School was constructed in 1956, there were only two principals of that school.  Rhoda M. Johnson was the first principal from 1930 to 1951.  Since 1951, there have been three other principals of Grant Elementary School.

The first faculty of Grant School was well known dedicated teachers.  Lillie Adams, Cora Black, Amanda Gillespie, Eulalia Haynes, Mable Jones, Freddie Riley and Ethel Ross were among those “greats” who taught at Grant Elementary School.  The P.T.A. for this school was organized in 1923.  Mrs. C. S. Matthews was the first P.T.A. president.  Grant School had eight rooms.  There were grades one through six in the school.

The present Grant Elementary School is located on Fourth Street between Freeman and Oakland Avenues.  It is a two story building with fifteen classrooms, a kindergarten, office facilities, an activity room and teachers lounge.  The cost for construction and equipment for the new Grant School was $479,447.79.”

A History of Black Education in Kansas City, Kansas, Readin’, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic by William W. Boone, March 1986 (Copy located in the KCKs Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave, KCKs, 913-551-3280).  The school district is sincerely grateful to Mr. William W. Boone, Ms. Josephine C. Vandiver, and Mr. Jackson C. Van Trece for their research and preparation of this material.   (Check the Biographies Index on the site map to view bios on these three people.)

This represents a excerpt from the manuscript/book as it was presented, including terminology used at the time of the writing.  All attempts have been made to reproduce the spelling, capitalization and layout of the original manuscript/book as much as possible.