The purpose and objectives of the National Association are charitable, educational, and cultural. The National Association serves as the governing body for alumni who attended Lincoln High School and R. T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School, and Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. The Alumni encourages qualified graduates of Lincoln College Preparatory Academy to further their education at post-secondary schools.
In 1988 the National Alumni Association was formed with the help of some former graduates. It was formed for the purpose of granting scholarships, on an annual basis, to qualifying students of their alma mater. The National Association serves as the governing body for the Alumni Association and its members.
Although several years had gone by since we had graduated, we thought it was a worthy cause to give scholarships. To our knowledge there had not been any organization dedicated to giving scholarships at our alma mater.
We had gotten together in the summer of 1986 to discuss just how we would start to form the organization. We were fortunate to have an alumnus who had a law degree. He began to draft our by-laws and articles of incorporation. It took the better part of two years to accomplish this.
We felt that we were ready to inform all of those who had attended Lincoln High and R.T. Coles that we were ready to hold a reunion of the two schools. We were pleasantly surprised at the response we received. At the first "Reunion", there were over 1,000 attendees. The affair was held in Los Angeles, Ca. in the summer of 1988. The Association has held its reunions bi-annually for the past 31 years.
Since its founding we have given hundreds and thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students, and we ask you to help us to continue this tradition by donating to our scholarship fund for these deserving students.
We are a not-for-profit organization, (501-c3). Donations are tax deductable. Those wishing to donate may do so with PayPal or visiting our website at: www.gofundme.com/lincolnrtcoles-alumni-assoc, or if donating by check or money order, mail to: Lincoln/R.T. Coles National Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 270374, Kansas City, MO. 64127.
You can also visit our website at: lincolnrtcoles.org, to find the latest news about the Alumni Association.
Thank you for your support
President- Ronald Walton
Vice-President- Ida Hughes
Secretary- Iris Dillard
Financial Secretary- Margaret May
Treasurer- Cynthia Bradford
Lincoln High / R. T. Coles alumni members remain leaders throughout the city, the region, and the nation, and the school's multi-racial and multi-ethnic faculty and student body continue to contribute to the broader community, building on the school's tradition and history of academic excellence and public service.
Our National Alumni Association is dedicated to assisting with the continued education of the students who wish to attend college.
The National Alumni Association was formed in 1988 with the help of some former graduates. It was formed for the purpose of granting scholarships on an annual basis, to qualifying students of their alma mater.
We are seeking public support for this historic school and its student body. Each year since its founding we have given hundreds and thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving students, and we ask you to help us continue this tradition by donating to the scholarship fund for these deserving students.
We are a not-for-profit organization, (501-c3). Donations are tax deductible. Those who wish to donate may do so by going to the web site: www.gofundme.com/lincolnrtcoles-alumni-assoc or by check or money order, simply mail to:
Lincoln High / R. T. Coles National Alumni Association Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 270374
Kansas City, Missouri, 64127.
Thank you for your support!
Lincoln High School is Kansas City's historically black public high school, known today as Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. Lincoln High School is weaved into the history and culture of Kansas City's African American community.
Lincoln High School and R. T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School trace their origins to the Sabbath school opened by Rev. Jonathan Copeland and his wife in 1865, believed to be the first school for African Americans in Kansas City following changes to the Missouri Constitution allowing education for black children. Once the Kansas City, Missouri, School District was established in 1867, the Board turned to Copeland's school to accommodate African American children in the city. The school took on the name "Lincoln" in the early 1870s.
In 1880, there was still no option in Kansas City for African Americans seeking an education beyond primary school, since Central High School, the district's first high school, was closed to African Americans. David V. Adolphus Nero, appointed principal of Lincoln School in 1880, proposed a high school curriculum to the School Board in 1881. While adding some high school classes to Lincoln School in 1882, the School Board did not adopt Principal Nero's plan util 1887. Once a separate high school was created in 1890 under the leadership of Gabriel N. Grisham, its quickly became a source of pride, education future black business, cultural, and religious leaders.
A new Lincoln High School building was constructed at 1835 Tracy Avenue and opened for the 1906-1907 academic year offering both academic and vocational tracks. Following the retirement of Principal Grisham in 1915, John R. E. Lee assumed leadership of the school. Lee is credited with introducing night classes for adults in reading, trades, and practical skills. Lee also opened the school for public events, such as speakers and musical performances. Principal Lee was succeeded by H. O. Cook in 1921. Though expanded twice in previous years, by the 1920s the school at 19th Street and Tracy Avenue was clearly insufficient for the growing study body and expansive course offerings.
After years of lobbying the Kansas City School Board, a new Lincoln High School opened for the 1936-1937 academic year. Built on the former site of Western Baptist College at 21st and Woodland Avenue, the new building featured modern science labs, art and music rooms, a two-story auditorium, swimming pool, and an expanded branch of the Kansas City Public Library. Lincoln Junior College also opened for the 1936-1937 school year in the new Lincoln High School building. R. T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School, named in honor of manual education pioneer Richard T. Coles, opened for the 1936-1937 academic year in the remodeled former Lincoln High School building at 1835 Tracy Avenue under the leadership of Earl D. Thomas.
In 1954, following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Kansas City School Board began formally desegregating its school system, starting in the 1954-1955 academic year. The first phase involved the closure of Lincoln Junior College and a transfer of its students to Kansas City Junior College. The vocational division of R. T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School was moved to Manual High and Vocational School, leaving Coles strictly a junior high school serving seventh and eighth grade students. The Board announced that desegregation of its remaining elementary and high schools would be effective for the 1955-1956 academic year.
Actual integration occurred slowly, beginning with the faculty in 1973. Lincoln High School became a magnet school in 1978, bringing more non-black children into the student body that ever before. The school was renamed Lincoln Academy for Accelerated Study that same year. The school received its current name - Lincoln College Preparatory Academy - in 1986.
The historical legacy of Lincoln High School is increasingly recognized and its future is promising. The 1936 school building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. In 2015, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy was ranked first among Missouri high schools. Today's students, faculty, and staff can look with pride on Lincoln's past as they continue the school's tradition of academic achievement and community service.
The above history is adapted from "A short history of the celebrated Lincoln High School and its 150 years of success" by Dr. Michael Sweeney in the Summer 2016 Jackson County Historical Society Journal.
View a growing collection of yearbooks, school newspapers, and other items related to the history of Lincoln High School and R. T. Coles Vocational and Junior High School.