John Burroughs Elementary School, named after John Burroughs, a writer and a naturalist, has a fascinating place in Tulsa history. Built in 1927, Big "John" Burroughs is located at the foot of Reservoir Hill. Historically, it was known as one of "Tulsa's largest and most prestigious Elementary Schools."
Not until after the Brown verses the Board of Education decision did a few African American students begin to attend Burroughs. By 1959, 30% of the student population was African American, and by the beginning of the next school year, Burroughs was well-integrated with an enrollment of 52% Caucasian and 48% African American. In 1960, 85% of the students were African American and by 1961 97% of the students were African American. Today Burroughs continues to serve a population of 96.1 % African American student base.
Later, came Burroughs' "Little School" which was the birthplace of magnet schools. Parents of both African American and Caucasian students persuaded the school board to experiment with an open-design elementary school in 1971. School officials quickly responded and brought in prefabs to use as classrooms. With 79 African American and 98 Caucasian pupils, Little Burroughs became a model of educations' excellence and interracial harmony.
Burroughs is now a neighborhood school. It serves an area from Pine Street on the south to 27th Street North and to the West from the Tisdale (Osage) Parkway to Midland Railroad on the east.