The David T. Howard Building opened in 1923 as an elementary school on property donated by its namesake, a former slave who founded Atlanta’s first black-owned bank.
In 1948, the sprawling brick building became a high school where some of the city’s high-profile African-American leaders were educated.
It closed in 1976.
This summer, more than four decades after its last students roamed the hallways, Atlanta Public Schools plans to begin a $52 million renovation and construction project to reopen the building as a middle school.
Future Atlanta students will be part of a long legacy of leaders who attended the school, including these eight prominent former students:
1. Maynard Jackson, first African-American mayor of Atlanta
Judge Luther Alverson (left) administers oath of office to Maynard Jackson in 1974.
Photo: Charles Pugh/AJC staff
2. Walt “Clyde” Frazier, NBA star and basketball hall of famer
Frazier graduated from Howard High School in 1963.
New York Knicks basketball player Walt Frazier is shown Sept. 15, 1970.
Photo: (AP Photo)
3. Eldrin Bell, former Atlanta police chief and Clayton County Commission chairman
Eldrin Bell, former police chief of Atlanta, with his son,Justin Guarini, who was the runner-up on the first season of "American Idol," at a Fourth of July parade in the early 1990s. (Photo courtesy of Eldrin Bell.)
4. Mildred McDaniel Singleton, a high jumper and the only U.S. woman to win a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in track and field
Mildred McDaniel Singleton was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. She set a world record in the high jump at the Olympics.
Photo: Photo from Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
5. Lonnie King, student civil rights organizer who helped launch the Atlanta Student Movement
In a demonstration for civil rights, Lonnie King leads thousands of student protesters from the Atlanta University campus on May 17, 1960.
6. Vernon Jordan, adviser to President Bill Clinton and former president of the National Urban League
Vernon Jordan, accompanied by attorney William Hundley, meets with reporters outside federal court in Washington in 1998.
Photo: KHUE BUI/AP
7. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader
King attended third through sixth grades, from 1936 to 1940, at the Howard school.
Martin Luther King Jr. listens at a meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, at a restaurant in Atlanta.
Photo: Flip Schulke/© Flip Schulke/CORBIS
8. Herman Russell, real estate entrepreneur and first black member of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
His company was involved in building major Atlanta projects such as the Georgia-Pacific headquarters, Philips Arena, Coca-Cola Headquarters and the Georgia Dome.
Herman Russell , an entrepreneur and philanthropist, built one of the nation s most successful minority-owned business empires in real estate development and construction.
For more on the Howard school renovation project, read the full story here on MyAJC.com.