This school was named after a gentleman by the name of Kelly Miller, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. The school colors were black and orange. They were known as the Kelly Miller Yellow Jackets. The last principal of this school was E. B. Saunders. He became principal in 1919. In 1929 the building was expanded to include a gymnasium, swimming pool, large library, more classrooms manual arts workshop, auditorium with a seating capacity of 825 and a first class home economics department.
As far as I can remember, they only played a white team in an all star game at the Carmichael Auditorium. I attended many of their football and basketball games from 1947 until the school closed. When the schools were integrated in 1956, Kelly Miller was then closed. Principal Saunders was placed as acting principal at Linden Grade School. Mr. Saunders later retired. I visited Mr.
Saunders many times after his retirement and he was kept busy baby sitting a grandchild.
This school building has been the location of the central offices for the Harrison County Board of Education since January 1982. The future of this building is in limbo as the board offices are planning to close Gore Elementary School soon and move their office
to this location.
The old Kelly Miller High School was located on Water Street and became the offices of the Board of Education after Harrison County Schools were integrated. I attended public schools in Clarksburg through 1955 and they were segregated, including athletic teams. There was a football practice field adjacent to WI field that we shared with Kelly Miller. That was as close as we got to racial integration in those years. I remember watching them practice and thinking how much harder they worked out than we did.
Even the universities and colleges in WV were mostly but not completely segregated. Athletics, especially football, probably had as much to do with real integration at the college level as anything else in the 1960's and later.
submitted by: Buzzy Floyd (VHS '56)
Ever wonder how Kelly Miller got its name? Check out this site--- http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/special/miller_kelley.html
submitted by: Sargent McQuillan (WI '57)
Kelly Miller High School was located on Water St. just south of St. John's Italian Catholic Church. Last classes were in 1953/54. I remember Ernie Holyfield (Guard), Gene Donaldson, and a scatback named Marshall coming out for football in the fall of 1954; all 3 became starters. Kelly Miller played in an Afro-American league. I can remember asking my parents for the car to take them home from my house after football practice. We had walked from Hite field to Wilson Street. Taking the "short cut" (straight up to Chestnut St. from Hite Field) was a bear after practice.
submitted by: Bob McNutt (WI '55)
Kelly Miller: The Class of '55 was still in the era of segregation and Kelly Miller and its surrounding streets were off-limits to most of us and totally unknown. It was rumored that their principal was the only principal in Harrison County to hold a doctorate in education. But even before desegregation, small cracks in that wall were being formed.
Jack Randolph, the marvelous director of the a cappella choir arranged for an exchange with their choir. We walked through town to Kelly Miller and were warmly greeted. Later we were treated to a marvelous concert when they appeared at WI. We learned more than music in that exchange. We all know who Washington Irving was, but none of us had a clue about Kelly Miller. He was the first black person to obtain a graduate degree in mathematics. He became a university professor of math and sociology at a time when it was extremely difficult for African-Americans to do so. Another crack in that wall of segregation occurred when our class invited a black person to be our commencement speaker.
These steps towards integration and understanding were small ones, but our class should be proud that they were taken.