Booker T. Washington School
One of the most important milestones in the development of the school system in Hobbs, New Mexico was the establishment of Booker T. Washington School for the education of the community's black children in 1929.  The first Booker T. Washington School was located in the 1400 block of East Skelly.  Miss Hazel "McMullin" Horton was the first and only teacher, and also served as Principal.  She was succeeded as Principal by Mrs. T.C. Martin, Prof. I.W. Kaffee, Prof. Lawrence E. Pigford and Prof. Ralph D. Littleton.

When the school was started enrollment totaled thirty students ranging from first grade to eighth grade.  The grade level taught in the school did not reach twelfth grade until 1938.  The first two graduates were Annie Faye Gilmore and Louise Johnson.

In 1940 the school was moved to 1200 East Humble and Lawrence E. Pigford was elected Principal. 

In 1948 Ralph D. Littleton became Principal and remained in the position until his retirement in 1974.  Mr. Littleton also served on the local school board for a number of years, was President of the New Mexico School Board Association, and was active in local government.

In those days of racial segregation, Booker T. Washington School served all twelve grades and by 1950 had over 350 students.  Students from Lovington, Eunice and Tatum were also bused to the school.

The last graduating class of Booker T. Washington School was in 1954 and consisted of six students.  It is not possible to compile an accurate count of the number of students who graduated from Booker T. Washington School since the records have been filtered into the graduates of Hobbs High School, but approximately 84 students earned their diplomas from Booker T. Washington School.  

Booker T. Washington School was just one part of a thriving African-American community in Hobbs.  Southeast Hobbs was known by many as the entertainment capital of the Permian Basin and hosted such legendary entertainers as B.B. King, James Brown, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Fats Domino, Ike & Tina Turner, Little Junior Walker and Bo Diddley.  The area had several churches, five restaurants, a soda fountain, numerous night clubs, dry cleaners, beauty shops and barber shops, hotels, several grocery stores, three auto repair shops, two pool halls, a skating rink, three teen centers and a community meeting center.  

Special thanks to Wanda Bell for the information and images contained here.

Ralph D. Littleton
Link to 1950 Booker T. Washington
                              School Yearbook

Link to 1954 yearbook of Booker T.
                              Washington School

For a closer look at Booker T. Washington School,
its students, teachers and activities, please be sure
to view the two yearbooks shown above. 

Special thanks to Wanda Bell for allowing us to display copies here.

The 1954 Tiger Band
H.R. Murphy, Director

1954 Cheerleaders

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