The information for this biography comes from Carol Walton Hannon, the book “Educational Heritage of a Century – A History of the Lexington Public Schools,” and the Lexington sesquicentennial commemorative book.
“The Professor” George H. Green, Douglass School’s fourth and longest tenured principal (1886-1936) was born a slave before 1856, and rose to become one of the state’s most prominent Negro educators.
As a child, he was sold twice. Mr. Green told the story of being 8 when a man came to his master wanting to buy his mother. The men haggled over the value of the mother. So, the master finally gave in and threw George in to seal the deal. The second time he was sold was at the age of 12. He was sold for $400.00. His new master had compassion for him and sent him to tutors along with his own children, and thus he began his formal education.
Professor Green graduated from the segregated Lincoln Institute (now known as Lincoln University) in Jefferson City, Missouri. He began his teaching career in 1875 in Linn County, Missouri. He taught three years in Cooper County and then taught school in Fulton, Missouri from 1879-1880. He went on to teach in Pleasant Hill from 1880-1885. He came to Lexington in 1886, and became principal of the Douglass School, where he served for fifty years. After he retired from being principal, he continued another ten or eleven years as a teacher. Professor Green taught school without missing a day, or ever having been tardy 56 of the 71 years of his career! The record nearly came to an end in 1918 when he was ill for a few days during the school year with influenza. However, it so happened there was a “flu” epidemic in Lexington at that time and the schools had so many teacher and pupil absentees that they had been dismissed until the epidemic subsided. His school attendance record is featured in Robert Ripley’s “Believe it or Not.”
The professor was very active in civic affairs, as well as in his church. He was a member of Dixon Lodge No. 11 AF & AM. Members of the lodge say that he was undoubtedly the oldest member of the lodge in Missouri, if not in the United States.
The Professor was widowed twice, and never had any children. At the age of 95 (January 1952) he left Lexington to live at the Masonic Home in Hannibal, Missouri where he died that same year. He is buried at historic Forest Grove Cemetery.
On March 9, Professor Green will be inducted into the Lexington, Missouri Hall of Fame.