Moton High School

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The Robert Russa Moton High School, originally Leeds Negro School, was a high school and junior high school located in Moton Park at 1721 Moton Street in Leeds. It was named for Robert Moton, the second president of Tuskegee Institute.

Prior to 1948, Black students from Leeds could attend Leeds Negro High School, but would have to transfer to Rosedale School in Homewood to complete the requirements for graduation. During the 1940s, the Leeds Negro School Trustee Board lobbied Jefferson County School System for a new Black high school, which would also accommodate students from Trussville, Irondale, Rose Hill and Overton.

A faction headed by Leeds Negro High School principal Emma Lewis wanted the school built in the Scott City neighborhood. Another group, headed by Jeff Harris, secured a 40-acre land donation from J. W. "Skip" Griffin in the Russell Heights community.

In 1958 the school building was destroyed by a fire, but was rebuilt on the same site. Leeds Mayor Bill Dorrough donated $500,000 to fund the addition of a gymnasium and swimming pool. Later additions included a science building and library.

In 1970, District Judge Sam Pointer ordered that Moton students had to be accepted into Leeds High School. Moton reopened as Moton Junior High School, which was soon renamed Leeds Junior High School. The school was purchased by the Leeds School System in 2003. The middle school continued to operate from the same building until moving to a new Leeds Middle School in 2009.

Alumni from Moton High School led efforts to preserve the building and renovate it for community activities. The Robert R. Moton Community Center was opened in May 2012.



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