Year Erected: 1998
Marker Text: Near this site stood Ware High School, which was the first public high school for African-Americans in Georgia and one of only five in the south while it was in operation. Founded in 1880, it was named for Edmund Asa Ware, Freedman`s Bureau Officer and President of Atlanta University. The school closed in 1897. African-American leaders brought federal suit in Cumming v. Board of Education of Richmond County, claiming if the black high school closed, the white high school must also close. The case was based upon the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law. The Board of Education argued that it could educate more African-American children on the primary level with the funds available. The case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which had held the principle of segregation through the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” ruling in 1896. The Court allowed the Ware High School closing to stand, thus permitting segregation in education. In a series of cases starting in 1913, and ending in 1954, with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, “separate but equal”, was displaced and school segregation held invalid under the 14th Amendment.