Old Central Cultural Center, Inc. was established in 1974 in order to preserve the legacy of the first African/American high school in the State of Texas, which had been established in 1885. In 1893, Galveston’s most famous architect, Nicholas Clayton, designed a two-story brick building for the purpose of …”providing higher educational opportunities for Colored in a free public school in the city of Galveston, Texas.” In 1904, an annex to Central High School was built “…on a motion from Mr. Lovenberg, permission was granted to the Rosenberg Library Association to build an annex to the Central High School for a library for the colored people of Galveston…” Literally thousands of black Galvestonians graduated from Central High School before it was closed as the Galveston public schools were integrated in 1968. By the time the high school closed, it was located at its fourth site; a building currently used as the Galveston Independent School District middle school. However, as the late Dr. Leon Morgan wrote, “The city of Galveston and the black community look upon the third campus and its retained buildings as symbolic of the years when education for blacks was becoming recognized as a very important asset to the city. The site and building are rich in unique history and tradition.”
The moving force behind the continued preservation and operation of the Old Central High School property at 2627 Avenue M is to ensure that this site which represents the first public high school and library for blacks in the State of Texas is properly maintained and financially stable in order to serve as a community center and to provide programs within the Galveston community.
Jack Johnson Park
John Arthur “Jack” Johnson was born on Galveston Island on March 31, 1878, then the largest city in the Lone Star State. In 1903 he won the Negro Heavyweight Championship. In 1908 he beat Tommy Burns to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world which he held for the next seven years. A park honoring Jack Jackson, adjacent to Old Central High School, is now open to the public