Community, Race, and Curriculum in Detroit: The Northern High School Walkout

  • Barry M. Franklin
Part of the Secondary Education in a Changing World book series (SECW)


On the morning of Thursday, April 7, 1966, some 2,300 students at Detroit’s all Black Northern High School responded to Superintendent Samuel Brownell’s decision to close the school in anticipation of a student protest by walking out in mass and joining a group of parents who had congregated on the street in front of the school. For the next two hours, the students and parents marched around the school carrying picket signs that decried the education offered at Northern and shouted for the removal of the principal, Arthur Carty. The marchers then made their way to nearby St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church where about a thousand of them attended a rally in which they listened to a recent Northern graduate tell how his high school education did not prepare him for the academic rigors of the University of Michigan and heard Superintendent Brownell’s assurances that the problems at Northern would be addressed.1 What followed was a three-week boycott during which time the student leaders of the walkout would press their demands for a host of changes at the school, including the removal of the principal.


Black Community Black Student Urban School African American Child Black Child 
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© Barry M. Franklin 2010

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  • Barry M. Franklin

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