Mayor Lightfoot

CHICAGO – Thanks to years of support from State Senator Mattie Hunter, Wendell Phillips Academy High School unveiled a new athletic center Wednesday afternoon. In collaboration with Alderman Pat Dowell and the City of Chicago, a total of $17 million was secured to build the new facility.

“This project is very special to us all, and the community at large, as this is a one-of-a-kind investment in a community that has been historically underserved,” said Hunter (D-Chicago). “Phillips Academy was named as one of the best high schools in our state for athletics, and this newly-built facility will more adequately fit the needs of its students and staff.”

The new two-story athletic annex is linked to the existing school building, with training and locker rooms, a concession and ticket office, and a hall of fame.
Wendell Phillips is the oldest African American school in Chicago, and has produced a number of notable alumni, including Nat "King" Cole, Sam Cooke, and George E. Johnson, Sr., founder of Johnson Products, and Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize.

In addition, Phillips has as an impressive athletic history. Since the 1920s, Phillips has built a reputation as an athletic powerhouse, winning several basketball tournaments. Out of Phillips emerged athletes that played for the Harlem Globetrotters under the banner of the South Side's Giles Post of the American Legion.


“I cannot put in words what this will do for the students of Wendell Phillips. In a predominately Black school that has been historically underfunded, this investment is monumental,” Hunter said. “It is inspiring and will reinvigorate the learning environment. This project will show students and staff that the work they do is valued, and they are not being overlooked.”

Most recently, Phillips became the first Chicago public league team to win a state championship in football, winning the IHSA State Football Championship in 2015 and again in 2017.