Public Schools: Good in a Ghetto

A blighted neighborhood usually equals a blighted school—and if Detroit's 2,800-student, 99% Negro Central High School accepted this common equation, it would be wilting fast. It is, by contrast, a powerhouse of good education.

The oldest public high school in Michigan, Central was founded in 1858 as an academic pipeline to the University of Michigan. Its plant is a majestic Georgian building on an 11-acre plot, and before World War II Dime Store Millionaire S. S. Kresge and the Dodge automotive clan had mansions in the vicinity. As late as 1954, Central seniors led the city by walking off with...

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