The Sumner Story: Capturing Our History Preserving Our Legacy

The Sumner Story: Capturing Our History Preserving Our Legacy


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The Sumner Story: Capturing Our History Preserving Our Legacy by Wilma F. Bonner, Sandra E. Freelain, Dwight D. Henderson, Johnnieque B. Love

For the first three quarters of the twentieth century, in the heart of our nation, there thrived a safe haven which nurtured great aspirations of thousands of African American youth and their families. “The Sumner Story” highlights the history of a segregated high school which became recognized for the stellar academic performance of its students. Highly qualified faculty who believed in the students’ ability to achieve prepared them for a world of competition, hard knocks, compromises and closed doors. The story also denotes and illuminates outstanding career successes of alumni.

In a socially and economically segregated nation, black students who had a “Sumner-like” experience were very fortunate because their schools served as clear windows and powerful springboards to promising possibilities. In this regard, nine other segregated high schools are reviewed. Insights can be gained from this story on how to resolve the plight of low-performing schools in socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600377808
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Pages: 214
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Dr. Wilma F. Bonner, Director of Teacher Education at Howard University, worked thirty-seven years in the District of Columbia Public Schools. She served as principal, Assistant Superintendent of Senior High Schools and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. She supervised the adoption of standards in reading, mathematics, social studies and science and spearheaded the development of new promotion and graduation requirements for the District.

Sandra Freelain, earned her MA in Public Administration. She served as Desk Officer and Enforcement Analyst for the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for 20 years.  As part of the Sumner Writing Team she gained a much deeper respect and renewed gratitude for the contributions of those who founded, and sustained Sumner High School. Sandra is enjoying her recent retirement.
Dwight D. Henderson, was elected president of the class of 1963. He received a basketball scholarship to Kansas State Teacher’s College.  Dwight received his law degree from the University of Kansas with a specialization in contract and labor law and worked as project attorney for Standard/Amoco/British Petroleum Oil Company until his retirement.  

Johnnieque Blackmon "Johnnie" Love's professional career spans forty-three years of public education. A former president of the Sumner High School Alumni Association, published writer of articles assessing diversity in the academic library, and dedicated historian of Sumner High School, Love lives in Beltsville, Maryland with her family.

Eugene M. Williams’ professional career spans 40+ years as a language arts instructor on the high school and college level and as administrator of two federal programs (Teacher Corps and Upward Bound).  For the District of Columbia Public schools, Williams served as Co-Director of Values Education.  He also served as educational consultant with the Saudi Arabian government in both Riyadh, SA as well as at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D. C.  More recently, has worked as career transition counselor for the  Geo-Spatial Administration (GSA) and the U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D. C.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1- Introduction
Chapter 2 - Sumner: Historical Backdrop
Chapter 3 - Sumner High School’s Early Beginnings and Evolution
Chapter 4 - What Kept Sumner Together
Chapter 5 - Memories, Reflections, and Perspectives
Chapter 6 - Fruit Yielded
Chapter 7 - African-American High Schools: Other Portals to Success
Chapter 8 - Closing Thoughts

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This story of Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas is a very welcome addition to the education literature. It provides a solid history lesson on effective schooling for blacks in that city for five generations, more than seventy years. It is rich with comments and assessments from graduates who credit their sound learning base at Sumner for their subsequent successes in higher education, in negotiating the ways in the world, and in the career ladders that they chose. Cognitive mastery was their core; that, coupled with infusions of proper values and attitudes, made Sumner's graduates competent and capable as they moved into adult life. Every Kansas school and library should add this book to their collection. Today's students need to understand the value of education, motivation, and school related connections to their lives and future well being. Kansas should be quite proud of Sumner High School and its graduates. This book helps to fill the void that exists regarding the successful education of blacks in this nation, despite the imposed limitations of legal racial segregation." — Faustine C. Jones-Wilson, Ed.D., Professor Emerita Howard University , Washington, D.C.

"Contemporary educators, policymakers and parents have much to learn from THE SUMNER STORY about school quality, community cohesiveness and—in a word—excellence! Sumner High School was staffed with exceptionally credentialed principals and teachers who possessed superior knowledge about the education and socialization of children and youth. These legendary educators' strategic equations yielded consistent fruit—generations of graduates who had an intellectual competitive edge and a moral compass which enabled them to be professionally successful, independent and proud, and contributing citizens in their communities despite Jim Crow and its vestiges. My parents are graduates of the famed Sumner High School and Dunbar High School (Washington, DC). Growing up I was regaled with stories about Sumner and Dunbar and the lessons my parents learned from their teachers. More than a historical tome, this research volume affirms what can and should be achieved in our nation's schools." — Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D. , Dean, School of Education, Howard University, Washington, D.C

"The writers touch on intangible benefits of the Sumner experience, such as the clear and present caring and personal sacrifice of teachers and administrators; the sense of togetherness due to both internal and external prompts felt by the students; and the pride of the whole community in the beauty of the school. They explore carefully the tangible factors impacting the school’s prolonged success: the faculty, curricula, co-curricular programs, and evidence of high standards and expectations. Can students be admonished to "BE THE BEST" outside of a segregated setting? Certainly, the Sumner organizing principle, that "Education is serious business—it is imperative!" could be in place in an integrated setting—but would the students of color know they were included? How can the success of Sumner and the other historically segregated schools that are studied, be resurrected for today's students? All who care about the highest quality of public education for today's African American students should thoroughly digest this powerful study of Sumner—and act upon it! — Ramona H. Edelin, Ph. D., Executive Director, D.C. Public Charter School Association, Washington, D.C.

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The Sumner Story: Capturing Our History Preserving Our Legacy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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