In 1892, Dallas established its first high school for African-American students. For a time, it was known as the Dallas Colored High School. Today it serves as the anchor of the Arts District and is known nationally as Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. It has produced such notable performers as Norah Jones, Elizabeth Mitchell, Edie Brickell, and Roy Hargrove. In 1989, a young woman named Erica Wright graduated from Booker T. You know her as four-time Grammy winner Erykah Badu.
“There’s no other place like Booker T. Washington High School when it comes to nurturing gifts,” she said before playing a benefit concert for the school earlier this year. “Not only did some of my fondest musical memories take place there, but the school provided me with the best opportunity a young student in the arts world could ask for.”
We asked Badu to return to Booker T. with a camera and show us what her alma mater looks like now, after having recently undergone a $50 million expansion.
The statue of Pegasus that sits in front of Booker T. was moved during the school’s expansion. But it’s back where it belongs now.
Badu might have been a musician today no matter what school she attended. But Booker T.’s vaunted music program made sure of it.
While at Booker T., Badu regularly performed freestyle raps on the radio, using the stage name Apples.
The dance department is where to look for Badu when she returns. It’s where she spent the most time as a student.