The Meyzeek Mystique
From the Desk of the Principal
Celebrating Our History: The Legacy of Albert E. Meyzeek
As we culminate our school’s celebration of Black History month, I would be remiss in failing to recognize the contributions of the man after whom our school is named. Who is Albert E. Meyzeek? How did his work as an educational pioneer and advocate for social justice influence our educational system? In what ways did his advocacy lead the way for equity and access to educational programming? The following biographical sketch, also featured on our school’s website, chronicles the life and achievements of A.E. Meyzeek.
Albert Ernest Meyzeek, son of John E. and Mary (Lott) Meyzeek was born in Toledo, Ohio on November 5, 1872. His early childhood years were spent in Toronto, Canada. His father, an offspring of Huguenot French stock, married Mary Lott in Chatham, Canada, then the terminal station of the Underground Railroad. Grandfather Lott, a Pennsylvanian by birth, often served on steamers traveling the rivers between Pittsburgh and New Orleans, where he saw first-hand the horrors and cruelty of slavery. Later, settling on farms in the hilly country of Madison, Indiana, along the Ohio River, Lott, two of his former ship mates, and with the help of Henry Ward Beecher, then a young Presbyterian minister at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, organized the Ohio River Underground Railroad.
Many slaves who escaped along the highway were carried on the backs of these powerful men to hiding places on their farms, or were hid and fed in the grottoes, dells or caves surrounding Madison. The Rev. Beecher related many incidents of drowning and freezing while crossing the river to his sister Harriett Beecher Stowe, who gave exciting descriptions of these feats in her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Young Meyzeek’s mind was greatly influenced by the stories of adventure related by his grandfather Lott who later escaped arrest in a Louisville jail, by the same underground route. Meyzeek’s grandmother gave up the Lott farm and traveled with her children in disguise by the same route to Chatham, Canada where they continued to receive runaway slaves. It’s ironic that this descendant of an Underground Railroad operator would make Louisville his permanent home. Meyzeek’s father was also a vigorous agitator for justice and equal educational opportunities. He has been credited with the winning of two suits against the Indiana School Board to abolish unhealthy and inadequate separate schools.
In Louisville, A.E. Meyzeek showed the same fighting spirit as his forefathers. After graduating with valedictory honors from the old Terre Haute Classical High School, where he was the only “colored” student, Meyzeek’s first ambition was the law. Thinking that success at law might be doubtful, Meyzeek entered the Indiana State Normal School for teacher training and later won a Bachelor degree from Indiana University; and a Master degree from Wilberforce University in Ohio. Coming to Louisville, he passed a competitive examination for Principalship and was sent to direct a large elementary school known as Booker T. Washington. A few years later, he was given a temporary assignment as principal of Central High School. Meyzeek, concerned about the lack of adequate reference and reading materials at his school, boldly took his students to the Polytechnic Society Library, where after a few visits, they were refused admittance. Outraged by his students’ humiliation, Meyzeek met with the library board and persuaded them to provide a “colored” branch library, with funds already pledged by the wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie.
Meyzeek was different than some of the other black leaders in Louisville at the time. He charted a very independent course. The 1890’s and early 1900’s was the age of Booker T. Washington when accommodating to segregation as a means of making racial progress, particularly on economic terms, was the gospel that Washington preached; and what whites in power wanted to hear. While he might be willing at times to accept compromises, Meyzeek saw that ultimately segregation itself was the problem. Meyzeek was much more in the vein of W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass. He believed that power conceded nothing without a demand. So Meyzeek persistently and persuasively agitated for equal access and opportunities. Most of his efforts were focused, one way or another, on trying to bring children into a new era, and trying to break down barriers that were in Louisville.
Other achievements include:
Treasurer and Director, Domestic Life Insurance Company; Director First Standard Bank; Director, Standard Building Loan Association; Chairman, Louisville Urban League; Chairman, Committee of Management, Y.M.C.A., 20 years; President, Kentucky Negro Educational Association; Member and one of the organizers, Kappa Alpha Psi; Executive Committee, Inter-Racial Commission; Executive Committee, National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools; Organizer for Colored Branch, Y.M.C.A.; Masons; Past Grand District Deputy and Past Grand Senior Warden of Kentucky Jurisdiction; Political party affiliation, Republican; Religion, Episcopal Church; Residence, 1701 West Chestnut Street, Louisville, Kentucky.
Clearly, A. E. Meyzeek was a powerful force in our community and his tremendous contributions in the field of education have paved the way for past, present and future generations. Meyzeek Middle school is proud to announce that Kappa Alpha Psi will have a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the grave-site of Albert and Pearl (wife) Meyzeek at Eastern Cemetery on March 24th at 5:30 PM in commemoration of his work as a charter member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Louisville Chapter. You are invited to share in this wonderful experience that honors the memory and legacy of Albert E. Meyzeek alive!
The BIG Reveal!
Meyzeek's New Mission Statement:
The mission of Meyzeek Middle School is to provide a balanced curriculum in which all students will be challenged to think critically and excel academically. Meyzeek students will demonstrate leadership, citizenship, and embrace cultural diversity in order to become a productive member of a global society.
Re-imaging the mission and focus of our school also led to the creation of a new school logo.
The Meyzeek Bears were invited to participate in a Logo and Slogan Contest to design what would be Meyzeek's new logo; one that would capture the spirit of the Meyzeek Bears and our MST magnet. I proudly announce the winners of the Logo and Slogan Contest:
8th Grader-Eden Ahren-Logo Designer
6th Grader-Sree Paladuga-Slogan & Bear Designer
Quick Recall-Regional Champions
Future Problem Solving (FPS)-Regional Champions
Mathcounts Team takes 1st Place at the Louisville Chapter Competition
Meyzeek Girls VEX IQ Team qualify for the State Competition
Science Olympiad dominates in their second Science Olympiad Invitational
Athletic Team Achievements
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the Meyzeek Bears Boys Basketball Team won the Junior L.I.T City Championship! Go Bears!
Archery valiantly competed at Regionals!
Extraordinary Bear Achievements
6th Grade Vallabh Ramesh, from the Explorers Team, won third place in the 15th District PTSA Spelling Bee!
Backpack of Success Skills: Defend the Meyzeek Way!
I encourage you and your family to become an attentive audience at home and prepare to be blown away when you hear about the learning experiences that have helped to shape your child's academic identity. Please take a moment to view the Backpack of Success Skills Video for Parents and join us in supporting our students as they "Defend the Meyzeek Way"!
Taylor Sams, 8th Grade VIP student, practices her Backpack defense for Dr. George, Principal and 8th Grade VIP English/Language Arts teacher, Alison Curtis before defense day.
Meyzeek Teachers-Making the "T" in MST Come to Life
Andrew Guest, 6th Grade Assistant Principal- GCE Level 1
Bailey Arnold, 6th Grade Counselor-GCE Level 1
Sandy Dearborn, Academic Instructional Coach- GCE Level 1
Katherine Mastronicola-School Technology Leader-GCE Levels 1 & 2; Certified Trainer (in-progress)
Jefferey Wellman-Project Lead the Way, GCE Level 1
Tiffany McIntosh-Behavior Supports-GCE Level 1
Tonya Cabral, 7th Grade Innovators Teacher-GCE Levels 1 & 2 and Apple Levels 1 & 2
Thank you in advance for considering to run for this vacancy.
The State of the District: The Superintendent's Address
You are invited to attend STEM Night at Meyzeek on March 10th anytime between 4 PM and 6 PM. This will be Meyzeek's first STEM night in which our science fair students will be giving preview presentations of their science fair projects that will be presented at the regional Science Fair and students from other content areas will be presenting their most outstanding content area projects of the year. A detailed letter will be sent home on March 2nd providing more detail about STEM Night. We hope to see you there!