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CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Publisher and Contributing Writer

What began as the St. Landry Training School over a century ago, became J. S. Clark High School in Opelousas during the 1950s.

When the old wooden structure that housed St. Landry Training School for four decades on the corner of Vine and Academy streets outgrew its use, a new building was constructed to house a more modern school for Black students. That school became J. S. Clark High School in 1953, named for Joseph Samuel Clark (1871-1944), the Louisiana educator who worked to advance educational opportunities for Blacks in Louisiana and served as president of Southern University from 1914-1938

J. S. Clark was a school that excelled in many ways including sports. The school had several sport championships over the years, with numerous talented athletes participating in football, basketball, track and field, tennis and other sporting activities. One of those teams was the 1953 J. S. Clark Bulldog football team.[1]

Nine of the team’s lettermen shown at the first 1953 season workout with Coach Isaac Tatum are, left to right, Rickey Abraham, end; Earl Talbert, quarterback; Leon Gauthier, guard, John Hall, tackle; Alexis Thomas, guard; Aaron Hampton, tackle; Hayward Grey, halfback; and Herbert Mitchell, fullback. In the center of the photo with Coach Tatum is James Williams, quarterback.

J. S. Clark and Opelousas High School were merged in 1969-1970 and both schools became Opelousas High School (OHS).


[1] Daily World, Opelousas, Louisiana, August 9, 1953.