Dean of Education: F. D. Moon (1896-1975)
Had not the grievous curtain of segregation finally been pulled back to reveal the life and works of Oklahoma’s African-American community to the full society, few outside the former would likely ever have heard of this valiant Fallis native. Instead, one of the nation’s most revered publications, the Saturday Evening Post, deemed him “the Dean of Negro Education.” A Gallup Poll declared him one of the 13 finest principals in America. He won the inaugural National Principal of the Year competition over every other peer in America, whatever their race.
Born in Oklahoma Territory 11 years before statehood, brilliant, trailblazing African American visionary F. D. Moon (1896-1975) served the young people of the Sooner State as an educator for more than half a century. He led rural black schools to accreditation in Jim Crow Oklahoma, piloted Oklahoma City Douglass High School to a historic role of community leadership, and led the OKC Board of Education as its first African American President. One of Moon’s enduring legacies was his ability to gain the trust and confidence of black and white citizens alike. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society.
Moon excelled in the segregated schools for African Americans of the era. Those schools did not reach to the high school level in his rural area, so he simply advanced into the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University, now Langston University, as a ninth grader. He completed high school and two years of college there, before launching his teaching career at Crescent’s segregated black school.
Moon led that school to accreditation in 1921, as he did Wewoka Douglass as its principal in 1931. In between, he earned his bachelor of science degree and won election as president of the Oklahoma Association of Negro Teachers. After marrying Leoshia Harris of Oklahoma City and earning his master of arts at the University of Chicago, one of the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions, he accepted the principal’s position at Frederick Douglass High School in Oklahoma City. His tenure there from 1940-1961 gained him near legendary status for innovation and leadership du