Malcolm X Shabazz High School

  • LOCATION: Newark, NJ
  • MASCOT: Bulldogs
  • COLORS: Black and Gold


Travel to the corner of Bigelow and Johnson street in Newark, and you'll discover an old-timey brick building well-equipped for winter surrounded by patchy green fields and lines of yellow school buses. Outside the building are hordes of students, almost all of them black, some shuffling to and from class and others crossing the street. This is Malcolm X Shabazz High School; located in one of the roughest parts of Newark, Shabazz was ranked 314th out of 322 public schools by New Jersey Monthly in 2010. Two years later, it now ranks 291. The process is methodical, but the change is evident.

Once the high school of former New York City mayor Ed Koch (it was called South Side High School then), Shabazz is now located in one of the most gang-infested parts of Newark. Students arrive from all different parts of the city, none of which would be considered safe. Even if several different parts of Newark are represented at Shabazz, Friday night is showtime. The football team looks playoff-bound again this year and "The President's Band," which has performed for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, is always there to perform.

Violence, rivalry, drugs and conflict lingers near the Shabazz field, but Coach Darnell Grant says it hasn't crossed its gates. Under Grant, the team is a brotherhood, it's only enemy, it's weekly opponent. Because, as the team motto states, if you're not a bulldog, you're dog food.


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