Mound City Lovejoy "Pirates"

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Mound City Lovejoy High School Building
Submitted by Harold Johnson

The History of Mound City Lovejoy High School
Mound City (population 692) is located in very far southern Illinois about five miles north of Cairo.  It is the County Seat of Pulaski County.  Mound City sits on the banks of the Ohio River a short distance from its merger with the Mississippi River.  Two Railroad lines, the Illinois Central Gulf and the Conrail, run tracks through Mound City.  Illinois Route 37 is the main roadway leading to town which sits about 1 mile east of Interstate Highway 57.  Some great reading on the history of the town can be found at which talks about the naval ship, the USS Mound CIty, which fought in the Civil War, and which talks of the murder of settlers by renegade Indians in the early 1800s.
The history of the town of Mound City and the former Lovejoy High School are provided in the following documents submitted by Harold Johnson, Lovejoy HS Class of 1959.

History of Mound City, Illinois
Provided by Harold Johnson

Submitted by Harold Johnson

A former student of the Lovejoy School District, Wendell O'Neal, PH.D., adds the following correction to the second paragraph in the above written history of the school:
"In the second paragraph of the “Lovejoy History” (above) reference is made to the construction of the Carver building in the 1950’s. That is true. I attended classes in that building from 1952 - 1956. The correction in the published account is that grades 5 - 8 were housed there, not just 7 - 8."
Meridian High School and grade school are located in Mounds. Harold Johnson (Class of 1959) tells us the Lovejoy High School building has been razed..
Mound City Lovejoy High School Quick Facts
Year opened:                        1892
Year closed:                         1962
Consolidated to:                    Meridian School District (Mounds)
Lovejoy HS team nickname:   the "Pirates"
Team colors:                         Purple & Gold
School Fight Song:                "Oh, Lovejoy High School"
                                                          Quick Facts Information provided by HAROLD JOHNSON


Mound City Lovejoy HS competed in basketball and track and field in the Southern Illinois Conference of Colored High Schools from its inception in 1919.  The team also fielded a baseball team that competed against other segregated schools in Egypt.  Cross country may have been offered as well.Coaches names and team records are being sought at this time.

Boys Basketball

MCLHS competed in a real hotbed of basketball in southern Illinois.  Though competitive year in and year out, the Lovejoy Pirates won only one District title. Unfortunately the team record and coach's name of this and other Mound City Lovejoy HS teams are not currently available.

The photo below is of the Mound City Lovejoy High School basketball team of the late 1940s or possibly the early 1950s. The head coach shown in the photo was Clarence Johnson. If you have any further information regarding this photo please contact us via the means listed at the bottom of this page.

Mound City Lovejoy High School Basketball Team
Submitted by Karen Johnson

Several scores involving Mound City Lovejoy High School playing in the IHSA State Tournament were located on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores." These scores are posted below.
1945-46               Carbondale District Tournament       Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Colp 34-18
                            Semi-final lost to Carbondale Attucks 55-49
                            Attucks lost to Mounds Douglass in title game
1946-47               Carbondale District Runner-Up     Coach's name & record needed
                            Semi-final Rd Beat Cairo Sumner 53-36
                            Title Game lost to Mounds Douglass 51-41
1947-48               Carbondale District Tournament       Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Brookport Lincoln 37-28
                            Semi-final lost to Carbondale Attucks 37-35
                            Attucks lost to Cairo Sumner in title game
1948-49               Mounds District Tournament             Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Mounds Douglass 81-56
                            Semi-final lost to Carbondale Attucks 53-49
                            Attucks beat Cairo Sumner in title game
1949-50               Cairo District Tournament                 Coach's name & record needed
                            Semi-final lost to Mounds Douglass 57-52 (O/T)
                            Mounds Douglass lost to Cairo Sumner in title game

1957-58           District Champions                  Coach Walter Eagleson

*Athletic information provided by Robert Pruter!


The following informational documents and photos were provided by Harold Johnson (Class of 1959). If you place your cursor on top of any photo and "left click your mouse you will be able to view an enlarged version of these photos. Thank you Harold, this is an excellent way to help us preserve this important part of American History!!

Lovejoy HS Class of 1944

Faculty of Lovejoy H.S.
"Left Click" cursor on each photo for enlarged view.

Principals and Teachers of Lovejoy H.S.

Mound City Lovejoy HS Class of 1950
Submitted by Karen Johnson

**From James Brown (Class of 1956):
My name is James Brown. I attended Lovejoy-Carver (next to the levee )in 1956. Mr. Lunderman was head teacher. Mr. O Neil  and Mrs. Smith were teachers. I have a picture of the Class of 1915. I will send it to you. I was born in Olmsted. My Great-grand uncle was Mr. James W. Crim who lived across the street from the High School. My grandmother was a member of the class of 1915. I have photos of the Class of 1940 graduation program. I will help in any way I can. This is Our History!!!"

Mound City Lovejoy Grad Program Announcement 1941
Submitted by James Brown, click on photo for larger view.

Mound City Lovejoy HS Grad Program Front 1941
Submitted by James Brown, Click on photo for enlarged version

Mound City Lovejoy HS Grad Program Class Info 1941
Submitted by James Brown

**From Harold Johnson (Class of 1959):

"I will be talking to some other people to try to jog their memory some on the sports history of the school.I was there from 55-59. James Green was our coach my first year.He was only there 1 year leaving to go  to the Baltimore Colts football camp.The next year Mr. Eagleson replace him.He was there when I graduate in 1959.  Before 1959 I beleive Most of our competing teams were other black schools in Illnois, Ky. Mo, and Tenn.  Sometimes we would take two day trips, playing one team Friday night and another Saturday night.  We would return on Sunday.  When I was in Elementary school I was looking forward for thist.  Unforunate for me 58 was the last year for those trips.  In 59 we start to playing more local white schools.  I will try to get you more history about Lovejoy.I am sure others will chime in.I wii forward your site to my Lovejoy contacts."

**From Wendell O'Neal, Ph.D. (Class of 1960):

"I attended Lovejoy High School from 1956 - 1958, and have information to fill in some of the blanks in the list of teachers.  My older brother, father and grandmother all graduated from Lovejoy, and my father was a 7th grade teacher at Lovejoy (Carver) Junior High School.   Mrs. Katie Barbee was one of his teachers, and a friend of our family as I was growing up.  She lived her later years in St. Louis, MO.  Another one of his teachers, Mrs. Olive Marie Cochran (whose husband was the local barber), was his colleague teaching 6th grade.

Mr. Green was James "Jimmy" Green, and Mr. Eagleson was Walter Vashon Eagleson.  When Mr. Eagleson left Lovejoy, I believe he went to Indiana (possibly Indianapolis) where he continued to teach and owned a laundromat. Although Lovejoy was much too small to have a football team, Mr. Green loved to play pickup football in the street with boys from the school.

Although basketball was the primary sport at Lovejoy, I can confirm that cross country was offered during the time that I attended, and there was also interscholastic softball.

I noted Almena Forbes English in the picture that you posted of the Class of 1944.  She is still very active in planning and managing Lovejoy reunions that have been held in recent years."

Lovejoy Junior High School Basketball Team 1954
Submitted by Dr. Wendell O'Neal

Seeking Further Information

If you have any further information or corrections for the history or achievements of the Lovejoy High School students, faculty, and the townspeople of Mound City, please write to us via e-mail at We are especially interested in a photo of the Lovejoy High High School building. You can also write to us via real mail at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.      60631

Mound City Lovejoy Students from 1940s
Submitted by Karen Johnson

Mound City Lovejoy Faculty 1940s
Submitted by Karen Johnson