Historic Hunt High School Damaged in Columbus Tornado

historic Hunt High School (Hunt Success Academy), photo by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH, Dec. 6, 2018

Reports from Columbus indicate that the famous historic districts in and around downtown suffered only minor damage from the EF-3 tornado that touched down in Columbus on Saturday evening. But a video posted on Facebook shows that Hunt High School, which opened as Columbus’s African American high school in 1953, the same year as S.D. Lee High School opened for white students, took a major hit from the storm. The campus had recently been placed under consideration for designation as a Mississippi Landmark by the MDAH Board of Trustees.

The multi-building complex, which is still owned by the school district although it is only partially used for classes as Hunt Success Academy, also has an impressive museum dedicated to African American history in Columbus and Lowndes County. You can see some pictures from that museum on the MDAH Historic Resources Database. You can also compare a round of photos taken just a couple of months ago in December 2018 to the really distressing images from this Facebook video by Hunt alumnus Anthony Colom. The massive concrete-framed 1953 building at the front of campus has been almost completely unroofed, and much of the second floor has been gutted, with steel windows completely gone (front building starts around 1:50 in the video). The Commercial Dispatch indicates that at least 12 classrooms were destroyed.


Categories: African American History, Columbus, Disasters, Modernism, Schools


2 replies

  1. this is bad. and, it looks like there is damage to the surrounding neighborhood, too, although the school seems to have taken a direct hit. if one can say ‘something good’, it’s that the weather event took place at a time when the building was not in use. and, it is fortunate that all of columbus doesn’t look like this.


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