The Guinn School

History of James E. Guinn School

The site of the original James E. Guinn School, a three-story structure build in 1917, was located on the corner of what is now East Rosedale Street and the I-35W access road.

That original school is now gone, but the footprint of the building still remains.  The BAC is located in what was the Middle School Building (built in 1937).  The elementary school (empty building facing East Rosedale) was built in 1927.  The gymnasium, built in 1957, still stands and is the future home of the Tech Fort Worth.

James E. Guinn, a Fort Worth native, was the oldest son of eight children.  His father, a former slave, moved to Texas in 1863 after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Although neither parent could read nor write, they had a desire to see their son achieve great success, and were involved in the founding of the Southside Colored School.

Mr. Guinn attended Fort Worth Primary Schools and graduated from Prairieview Normal College with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.  He returned to Fort Worth to give back to his community and became the first black Fort Worth native to serve as a principal in the Fort Worth Public School System.

Mr. Guinn became principal of the Southside Colored School in 1900.  The school had two rooms with a capacity for 100 children in grades K-4.

On January 3, 1907, the City Council agreed to build a permanent building for the Southside Colored School.  Sadly, Mr. Guinn died on July 11, 1917, before construction could be completed.  Later that year, the school was renamed the James E. Guinn School.


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History of Black Education in Fort Worth

Although the Fort Worth School System was established in 1882, African American children were not allowed to attend these schools.  So the school system rented space in several churches to teach them.  These churches included Mount Gilead Baptist, Colored Methodist Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church.

On July 31, 1884, the "Colored Citizens of the Southside" began a long effort to obtain a formal school for black children on the Southside by presenting a petition to the City Council for a teacher for their school.

On Christmas Day, 1894, Reverend Frank Tribune, a Texas evangelist, formally organized the first black Southside school in a building rented from Mount Zion Baptist Church.

In 1900, James Elvis Guinn became the principal of the Southside Colored School, that was still located at Mt. Zion.