November 25, 2015

Who is Rachel B. Noel?

About Mrs. Rachel B. Noel

A Denver civil rights leader, Rachel Bassett Noel (1918-2008) became the first African American elected to the Denver Public Schools board of education and the first African American woman elected to public office in Colorado.

In 1968, she presented to the DPS school board the Noel Resolution, which asked the superintendent to develop a plan to integrate public schools. Under a cloud of threats to Noel and her family, the resolution passed in 1970.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Noel position in its landmark decision of 1973, Keyes v. Denver Public Schools, making Denver the first city outside the American South to address segregation with school busing.

Noel was born in 1918 and lived to see our middle school named in her honor. She held degrees from Hampton and Fisk universities, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Denver. Noel died February 4, 2008.