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King College Prep
4445 South Drexel Boulevard


Coordinates41°48′50″N 87°36′10″W / 41.8138°N 87.6029°W / 41.8138; -87.6029
School type
Motto"Dare to dream, Strive to achieve."
School districtChicago Public Schools
CEEB code140825[1]
PrincipalBrian Kelly
Enrollment617 (2021–2022)[5]
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)  Black
Athletics conferenceChicago Public League[2]
Team nameJaguars[2]
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
YearbookBlack and Gold[4]

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. College Preparatory High School (commonly known as King College Prep or locally as King) is a public 4-year selective enrollment magnet high school located in the Kenwood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1971, The school is named for slain leader of the civil rights movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968).

Operated by the Chicago Public Schools district, King is one of the district's ten selective enrollment schools, which means that its students must apply for acceptance, based on academic achievement and test scores. In 2010, under then–principal Jeff Wright, King College Prep was named a "Silver Medal" school by U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings of America's best high schools. During the 2016–2017 school year, the school was promoted to a level one plus rank school.


The school was founded as Forrestville High School in 1964, which was located 4401 S. Saint Lawrence Avenue (less than a mile west of King's location). Housed in a former elementary school, School officials and community members requested to the Chicago Board of Education a new school building was needed to accommodate the increasing enrollment of Forrestville, which by 1968 was around 2,100.[citation needed] The school opened as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High School for a class of 650 summer school students on June 28, 1971. The school later opened for the 1971–1972 academic school year on September 8, 1971, with an enrollment of 1,800.[6]

The school, which costed $7 million to construct was officially dedicated to civil rights activist and minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on October 17, 1971, by Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, Chicago Public Schools superintendent James F. Redmond and the schools' principal Charles Almo. The school opened as a neighborhood high school, with most of the student body being from surrounding neighborhoods (which consisted of Kenwood, Grand Boulevard and Oakland) and the former Forrestville High School.[6][7] King became a selective enrollment school during the 2000–2001 school year and was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. College Preparatory High School.[citation needed]

Curriculum and activities

Honors classes and Advanced Placement courses are offered in every subject area. College coursework is accessible through King's college and university partners. Advanced coursework is possible in Visual and Performing Arts (Band, Dance, Drama, Graphic Arts, Vocal Music). King's band and choir have represented Chicago at the Presidential Inaugural Heritage Music Festival in Washington D.C.[8]

In 2008, King's marching band opened for Stone Temple Pilots at their Chicago concert.[9] In 2012, the King College Prep Marching Band again traveled to Washington D.C for the Presidential Inaugural Heritage Music Festival. The band and choir placed first in their divisions. In addition to placing first in their division, the band is also 4–time winners of the High School Battle of the Bands at the annual Chicago Football Classic.


King competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).[10] King's sport teams are known as the Jaguars. King's boys' basketball team were Class AA ten times (1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1997–98 and 1998–99) and public league champions six times (1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1992–93, 1993–94 and 1998–99) under the leadership of Landon "Sonny" Cox. And Regional Champions in 2020-21 Season Under Leadership of Culumber Ball. The girls' basketball team were regional champions in 2009–10. King's boys' wrestling team were regional champions three times (2009–10, 2010–11 and 2011–12). The boys' track and field were Class AA two times (1975–76 and 1976–77).

Boys' basketball

The boys' basketball team was dominant during the mid-1980s throughout the 1990s, produced numerous Illinois Mr. Basketball's, and were nationally ranked on a regular basis. 1982 graduate, Efrem Winters, was named MVP of that year's McDonald's All-American game. After a college career at Illinois, Winters was drafted by the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. Former NBA player Marcus Liberty, who was a member of the 1989 Illinois Flyin' Illini attended King and was widely regarded as the #1 player in the nation. In 1990, King won the Illinois state title, going 32–0, and was ranked #1 nationally behind star guard/forward Jamie Brandon.

After initially committing to Illinois, Brandon went on to play alongside Shaquille O'Neal at LSU after the Ilini went on NCAA probation. He later played in France, Croatia, Finland and Honduras. In 1993, King had 7'2" Thomas Hamilton and 7'0" Rashard Griffith, who led the Jaguars to a state championship. Imari Sawyer played for King from 1996 to 2000 before starring at DePaul. All of these players were coached by outspoken Chicago legend Landon “Sonny” Cox.[11]

Notable alumni

Notable staff


  1. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Chicago (King)". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 8 January 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Institution Summary for King College Prep High School". AdvancED profile. North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  4. ^ 1998 Martin Luther King Jr. High School Yearbook (Chicago, IL).Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Chicago Public Schools: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep HS.Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Chicago Tribune, Martin Luther King High School Dedication Ceremonies Today, 17 October 1971.Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  7. ^ Illinois Glory Days, Chicago Forrestville High School.Retrieved December 7, 2019.
  8. ^ History Comes to Life on National Stage
  9. ^ Pilots find course
  10. ^ IHSA: Chicago (King)
  11. ^;pid=119657;d=this
  12. ^ "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  13. ^ Travis, Clyde (1 April 1994), "Griffith: I'm Leaving: Ex-King Star Disillusioned At Wisconsin, Will Quit", Chicago Sun-Times, retrieved 19 January 2010, Rashard Griffith ... from King High School, said he still is weighing his options for the future. He likely will transfer to another school, but hasn't dismissed the possibility of entering the NBA draft.
  14. ^ "Thomas Hamilton". statistics & biographic info. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  15. ^ Cotton, Anthony (22 December 1988), "Bell Is Starting to Ring Again for Marcus Liberty", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 19 January 2010, ... Marcus Liberty already was regarded as one of the city's all-time great basketball players, right up there with Isiah Thomas, Glenn Rivers, Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings. During his career at Martin Luther King High School, the comparisons went national, his name mentioned with the likes of Magic Johnson.
  16. ^ "Marcus Liberty". statistics & biographic info. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  17. ^ "U.S. News: Breaking News Photos, & Videos on the United States".
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Sonny Cox - From The Wailer to The Coach", Cousins Vinyl, 25 March 2007, archived from the original on 11 July 2012, retrieved 19 January 2010, Sonny Cox was once a wailing saxophone player in Chicago in the 60s, recording this album on the Cadet label. He then apparently got into coaching high school basketball after his career was over, leading Chicago's Martin Luther King high school to three state championships. He was recently honored was one of Illinois's 100 Legends of the IHSA basketball tournament.
  20. ^ "100 Legends of Boys Basketball Tournament". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2010. Landon "Sonny" Cox - Chicago (King) - Fashioned three state champions at King High School in Chicago, with victories in 1986, 1990, and 1993…also picked up second place in 1987, third in 1989 and 1999 to share Class AA record with Bennie Lewis with six total trophies won…grew up in Cincinnati…played baseball in college at Kentucky State University…is an accomplished jazz saxophonist.

Further reading