November 30, 1856 - May 9, 1928

Charles Atherton was a leader in education in Houston. He served as the first principal of the Colored High School, now Booker T. Washington High School, for 20 years.

He dedicated over 28 years of service to the development of the 'colored' schools as principal and teacher at the Third Ward School and the Gregory Institute. He also served as Dean of Academics at the Prairie View State Normal.

His countless contributions helped build the foundation for Houston's education system and were of immense benefit to the surrounding community.



Atherton married Sarah E. in 1901, they had three children, Mamie, Alma, and Leona.  After his death from a stroke at 72 in 1928, Sarah moved to California and lived there until her death in April 1952.

Atherton was born in Falmouth, Jamaica. He was educated at The Mico College for teachers before migrating to Texas in 1884. He was the son of Sergeant Major Atherton of the Constabulary in Falmouth. A "Mr. Atherton" of a similar age entered the US aboard the Sch Sarah A Fuller at Ellis Island in January 1884 from Kingston, Jamaica with two pieces of luggage.

In September of 1884, Atherton completed the exam for certification as principal "successfully and with great credit."

He regularly engaged in community events, like the local De-Ro-Loc Festival, and held leadership positions in community organizations, including at the Methodist church.