Richard Barrington, a former slave, Barrington was responsible for the establishment of the first community financed school for “colored” people in Monroe, called the Wisner School in 1885.

At the close of the Civil War Blacks in Ouachita Parish, like Blacks all across the South, were destitute for education. There were no public schools and private schools were nonexistent for Negroes, but there was still a desire to learn. When the War ended, Barrington, who was born in January 9, 1841, was a young man who had a desire to obtain an education himself and to help others achieve the same.

During Slavery he was a “house slave” and was reared in the big house. He was taught to read and write, even though it was against the law to teach slaves reading skills. He made use of his master’s library and sharpened his literary capacity to the extent that when his master became a United States Congressman, Richard was at his side as a trusted assistant, secretary and barber. He opened a barber show on South Grand Street and saved enough money to purchase 75 acres of land from Louberta Street to the MOP Railroad.

In the 1860’s Richard married Luticia Barrington and their union produced three offsprings: Frank W. Barrington, Carter Barrington and Grace Barrington. Richard provided for their education and sent them to school in St. Louis. One of his sons, Frank, concentrated his studies in education and returned to Monroe to help his father set up a school for “colored” children. When Richard Barrington decided to try his hand at establishing a community supported school for “colored” people he knew the chances of success were slim but he tried anyway. He watched many efforts by others fail.

A school started by the Freeman’s Bureau, using Union Soldiers as teachers, failed as local whites cut off funds for the school. Other plans by local “Colored” citizens also failed. Even though “Colored” citizens taxed themselves to pay for a school by giving 1/20th of each share and 5% of their month’s wages to operate the school, this plan failed too. In 1885 Barrington led local “Colored” citizens in the effort to get public support for a public school for “Colored” children. Colored citizens in large numbers went to the polls and voted for a school for Colored children on Eight and Washington Street (now called Dixie Bedding and Furniture.)

The school was the first successful public school venture in Monroe for Negroes. It housed all 12 grades and was called the “Wisner School.” It brought the total number of public schools in the city to three, two for whites and one for Negroes. When the school opened, Richard’s son Frank became the first Negro principal in a public school in Monroe. His father Richard, stood in the background, proud of his son’s achievement. Richard died in 1896 and his son carried on the work and his dream of a modern school building for Negroes.

In 1922 the dream came true as Monroe Colored High School was constructed at a cost of $75,000 and Professor M.J. Foster became the new principal. In the early 50’s the school was moved to a new site and renamed Carroll High School. Even though it was in a new site with new buildings and modern equipment, the dream of Richard and Frank Barrington lived on; that “colored” children would have a place to study and learn in the city of Monroe.