William Raines Alumni Celebrate Rich Legacy by Giving Back Through Scholarships

The William M. Raines National Alumni Association, Inc. held their 2nd annual “Black & White Ball” scholarship fundraiser at the Omni Hotel bringing hundreds of alumni together to benefit their beloved alma mater.  The event raises monies for scholarships through pledges and donations. This years reunion honored the class of 1968 for their 50th year high school reunion.  Raines is the oldest historically black high school in Duval County still in existence.

In 1964, with an increase in Jacksonville’s African American population, Duval County School Board decided to send African American students to Jean Ribault High School, but the all-white faculty and students rejected the idea. The school board then decided to build a new facility, costing two million dollars. School No. 165 opened its doors at 3663 Clarkson Avenue on January 25, 1965. The opening of Raines brought about the reassignment of 1,305 black high school students in grades nine through twelve from Northwestern Junior-Senior High School to the new school. The school opened unnamed and was referred to simply as School No. 165. On June 10, 1965 at a school board meeting the school was officially named William Marion Raines Senior High School after a noted educator.

The school was the first of its kind bringing a new excellence to its students population including everything from a strict dress code to etiquette classes.

Raines currently serves as Duval County’s Science, Math and Engineering Magnet School and is still celebrating winning a state high school football championship. Ron Lott Photos

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