Detroit’s Chadsey High School

The school is named for Charles E. Chadsey, superintendent of Detroit schools from 1912-19.
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Chadsey High School
Photograph courtesy Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

1939

September means back to school, but we’re accustomed to seeing younger students than these in the classroom.

The adults pictured here are attending “Americanization” night school at Detroit’s Chadsey High School. They are most likely Polish immigrants, since the area around Chadsey, on Martin Street on the west side of Detroit, was at the time a heavily Polish neighborhood. “Americanization” involved teaching immigrants English, civics, and American culture. However, latter-day social critics held that, in an effort to assimilate immigrants, the classes (which were taught all over the country) stripped away too much of the immigrants’ culture and ethnic identity. Today, Chadsey High School remains one of Detroit’s most diverse schools, with students from more than 20 countries.

The school is named for Charles E. Chadsey, superintendent of Detroit schools from 1912-19. Chadsey High opened on Columbus Day, 1931, which served as the inspiration to name its athletic teams The Explorers and its yearbook The Compass.

Chadsey had been on the list of Detroit schools that were in danger of closing, but it received a reprieve. A call to the school assured us classes will continue this year as they have since 1931.

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