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Garnett Elementary School | Photo © 2020 David Bulit

Garnett Elementary School

Location Class:
Built: Unknown | Abandoned: 2016
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: David Bulit

Micheal Jackson’s Attendance at Garnett Elementary School

Although small and modest, Garnett Elementary School is widely known as the elementary school Michael Jackson attended, although he was not there long. He attended at the age of six with some of his siblings, and it is located just two blocks from his childhood home.

At Garnett Elementary School, Michael sang “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” with his mother, father, and grandfather in attendance, whose performance was said to have brought even his stoic grandfather to tears. This was famously reenacted in the five-hour miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream, with Alex Burrall portraying Michael Jackson in the school pageant show.

In 2009, one of Michael’s teachers at the Garnett Elementary School, Felecia Childress, recalled: “I think I remember his eyes because he was so happy and he was almost bouncing around the room… and I remember Michael was the center of a lot of attention.

Michael had this stammer, but when he sang he would not miss a note and his pitch was perfect. He must have had an excellent ear because his little voice was just right on tune and everything you know and he was happy.

My heart ached for him because I remember the joy that he had mixing with his little friends, but it was so short lived. He didn’t have time to be a child. H e just had to leave all of that behind and go to the serious part of life. And, that bothered me because I felt you know that’s the way you learn so much about your relationships; is how you play.”

Garnett’s Closure and Abandonment

Garnett School closed in the 1970s as the city began declining. The school reopened at the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, an alternative high school founded in 1970 to educate dropouts and at-risk students. After the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy moved to a much larger structure in 2001, the building sat vacant for nearly a decade before reopening as Images of Hope, Inc., a private school that closed down sometime in 2016.

Garnett Elementary School
7-year-old Micheal Jackson in 2nd Grade
David Bulit

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