This piece was originally published in 1979 in Michigan History by Preservation Detroit’s co-founder, Allen Wallace, then a student at Wayne State. It has been lightly edited.
David Mackenzie was born in 1860 of Scottish parents in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
After graduating from the University of Michigan and spending time as an educator across the state, Mackenzie was called back to Detroit by the resignation of former Central High School principal, James Beazell. Beazell’s resignation brought forth prophecies of doom for Central High. Mackenzie’s distinguished reputation as an educator brought him to the attention of the Detroit School Board, and he was successfully persuaded into accepting the post as principal of Central High. …