My Contribution: I was one of the first two Black students to grad- uate from the Harrisburg Boys’ High School, and I graduated first in my class. I became a dedicated educator who taught at the Calder School and the Wickersham building and served as Harrisburg’s first Black administrator. I was also a contributing member to many lo- cal chapters of African American political and social organizations, including the Colored Masons, the NAACP, and the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows.
My Legacy: As a committed teacher, principal, and the Harrisburg School District’s first Black administrator, I worked as an ambas- sador for equity in the city. On the day I died, Harrisburg schools closed in my honor. John P. Scott Elementary School on Derry Street still bears my name. My family has continued to invest in Harrisburg education as outstanding teachers and historians.
“A thirty-third degree charm was presented to J. P. Scott, veteran Harrisburg colored school teacher, at a reception given in his honor… The award was given for meritorious service in this city and the State of Pennsylvania. Mr. Scott probably has done more for colored Masonry in this city than any other man in his generation.”
— The Evening News, November 24, 1920.
Full Name: John Paul Scott Sr.
Birth Date: December 25, 1859
Death Date: April 28, 1931
Place of Birth: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Race: Black (1900 and 1910 Federal Censuses), “Negro” (1930 Federal Census), and “Colored” (Certificate of Death).
Places of Residence: 605 South Street (1900, family-owned) and 139 Linden Street (1910, family-owned), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident
Family Members: Mother: Rebecca Scott. Sister: Martha R. Scott. Wife: Stella S. Scott, d. June 1916. Children: Rebecca W. Scott, John P. Scott, Jr., Estella H. Scott, William B. Scott, and James L. Scott
Education: Harrisburg Boys’ High School (first salutatorian of color)
Occupations: Public School Teacher in Harrisburg Schools (for 47 years). School Principal. Professor. Orator. Father.
Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church (member for 45 years)
Activism: Colored Masons (member), Forster Street YMCA (managing board member), Prince Hall Lodge (Grand Master), St. James Commandery (Grand Commander), and the Royal Arch (High Priest).
Connections: Frisby C. Battis, William Howard Day, James M. Auter, George Galbraith, Dr. William H. Jones, Joseph L. Thomas, William H. Marshall, Morris H. Layton, Jr., and A. Leslie Marshall