Business Directory

Yates Colored High School

Adults at Yates High School / 1940s

L to R: Mrs. James D. Ryan (wife of the first principal of Yates High School), Mrs. Ellison, Mrs. Eva Dawson, Mr. Melvin Dawson, Mr. Nevelnus Johnson, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. J. G. Osborne, Mr. William Holland, Mr. Paul Yates, Nannie Yates Countee, and Pinkie Yates.

Yates Colored High School, named after Reverend John Henry “Jack” Yates, was built in February of 1926 at 2610 Elgin Street. The school was the second high school for Houston’s Black teenagers, with Colored High School (b. 1893) being the first.

At its opening, Yates High School had 17 teachers and 600 students, which relieved the overcrowded Colored High School immensely.

Yates High School “Glee Club” / 1950s

By early 1951, Houston’s Black population was steadily growing, and Yates High Colored High was quickly surpassing max capacity. By February of that year, there were 2,100 students enrolled in the school which was only built to contain 1,600. In 1954, the student population had reached 3,000.

To address the capacity, Worthing High School opened in 1958 and Yates High School moved to a new campus on Alabama Street later the same year. This campus was demolished in 2018 and a new, modern facility was built in the same location.

The previous campus on Elgin Street was not demolished, but instead used for James D. Ryan Middle School which opened in 1958. In 2013, the school was closed due to low performance, but the building remained.

The Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan, a magnet school, was opened there in 2013.