We were not allowed to wear pants in school. In the winter we wore pants under our dresses or skirts and had to take them off at the door.
When I went to high school in 1949 high schools were as segregated as our elementary schools, but we didn't care or notice because we had wonderful teachers and stimulating classes. It goes without saying that our athletic teams were at the top. Some of the famous alumni from Phillips include: Nat King Cole, Gwendolyn Brooks, first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize; Archibald Carey, Jr., lawyer, judge, politician, diplomat and clergyman; Sam Cooke, Pop and gospel recording star; Paul Des Jardien, Member of College Football Hall of Fame; George E. Johnson, Sr., Founder, Johnson Products, the first African-American owned company listed on American Stock Exchange; Buddy Young, football legend; Alonzo S. Parham, the second African-American to attend West Point; Al Pullins: Original member, Harlem Globetrotters; and Dinah Washington, legendary recording artist.
- Before Dr. Lewis (BAL) I was an excellent student but after Dr. Lewis (ADL) I became ambitious. I wanted to do something with my life.
- BDL I didn't know much about college. ADL I wanted to go to college.
- BDL I took regular classes. ADL I took honors classes.
- BDL I thought of myself as ugly and unworthy. ADL I thought I had possibilities.
- BDL I was a gang leader. ADL I was a school leader.
- We had a college preparatory class where we learned social graces, how to study, how to take a test, and other things that weren't taught in regular classes. The class was taught by Miss Hogan, a petite, white haired, white woman who terrified everyone in the school. Best foundation I could have had for college.
- Dr. Lewis took me to restaurants so I could learn how to eat in a restaurant.
Our biggest rival in athletics, was DuSable High School. We were the two premier Black high schools and we competed on and off the field.
We had many clubs at Phillips, even a trigonometry club, service clubs, a school newspaper that everyone read for the latest gossip, and honor societies. We had clubs and activities at the YMCA and the Lincoln Center. We were as busy as students are today. We also competed with other schools in debates and other intellectual pursuits.