McKinley High School History

The History of McKinley Senior High School began in 1907 in a small house several blocks east of the present site named “The Hickory Street School.”  In 1913 the school was relocated to Perkins Rd. at Bynum St. and renamed “The Baton Rouge Colored High School.”  This facility was later struck by lightning and destroyed.

McKinley’s first graduating class was in 1916, consisting of four students, becoming the first graduating class of African American high school graduates in the state of Louisiana.  The current building was erected in 1926 opening September 19, 1927, and named in honor of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley.  The high school was later moved again in 1950 to a new facility on the corner of Louise St. and McCalop St. next to the present day I-10.  The Thomas H. Delpit Blvd. facility became McKinley Junior High School.  In 1962, the third and present day McKinley High School was built at 800 East McKinley Street, the Junior High School then moved to the I-10 site, and the Thomas H. Delpit Blvd. site became McKinley Elementary.

November 16, 1981, the original facility of McKinley Senior High School was entered into the National Register of Historic Places. On February 5, 1992, the McKinley Alumni Association purchased the original structure from the East Baton Rouge Parish school board, and was later destroyed by fire on July 3, 1998.

McKinley Senior High School is the oldest high school established for African Americans in the State of Louisiana, continuing to be a tradition and legacy for many families and the surrounding community.