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Stephens-Lee High School Educates Legends and Heroes


Asheville's Stephens-Lee High School (1923 to 1965) for Black students educated legends and heroes including Tuskegee Airmen and Civil Rights leaders.


Stephens-Lee High School, “Castle on the Hill” [2]

The U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), legalized segregation in public facilities. Asheville began providing schools for Black students in 1888. From 1923 to 1965, Asheville’s Stephens-Lee High School was nationally recognized for its arts programs, sports teams, highly educated teachers, and social justice activism. Stephens-Lee High School was the Black high school for students from five Western North Carolina counties.

Stephens-Lee’s students including Henry Logan, Bennie Lake, Willie Maples, and Marcell Proctor played professional sports after graduation. C.L. Moore coached the boys’ basketball, football, and baseball teams to state championships. Madison “Doc” Lennon directed award-winning marching bands and orchestras.

Inspired by activists at Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs) in North Carolina, students at Stephens-Lee and the Allen School created the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality (ASCORE). ASCORE used sit-ins and petitions to help integrate Asheville.

In 1954, the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, integrated public schools. In 1970, Asheville High School integrated Black students. Stephens-Lee’s campus, main structure, and surrounding neighborhood were deconstructed by urban renewal projects in the 1970s.