1951 : Olive Davis Letts, Lansing’s First Black Elementary Teacher

May 20, 2020 all-day

Olivia Davis Letts was the first black elementary teacher in the Lansing Public Schools.  Already with three years’ experience teaching in the Chicago schools, she was hired in Lansing on May 20, 1951 with the help of a community movement.  Her first assignment was at Lincoln School, where she ultimately became principal. In 1965, she became principal at Post Oak Elementary.  Over the years, she attended classes to earn a doctorate. She retired in 1985 as the city’s director of elementary schools.  In 2016, she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

Sources :

MIIngham-L Archives (2009), courtesy of RootsWeb.

Stacey Range. “Lansing’s First Black Teacher Recalls Integration.” Lansing State Journal, February 18, 2006

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