Northwestern High School is a public high school in Detroit, Michigan. The most recent enrollment figures for Northwestern indicate a student population of approximately 2,000. Northwestern High School features numerous extracurricular activities; including: Debate, US Army JROTC, interscholastic and intramural athletics. NHS also offers several advanced placement (AP) courses. In 2012 Southwestern High School closed; many former Southwestern students were rezoned to Northwestern.
Albert Cleage, was a Christian minister. During the mid-twentieth century, Cleage was nationally recognized as a leading advocate of the civil rights movement. Albert Cleage's book The Black Messiah was published in 1968.
Fletcher Gilders (1949), was 1948 MHSAA Track and Field Athlete of the Year; in 1949, Gilders established a national interscholastic record in the pole vault (13' 3"). Gilders was also one of the best springboard divers in the United States; he competed at the 1948 and 1956 US Olympic Trials.
Ron A. Johnson (1965), played collegiate football at the University of Michigan. Among Johnson's many accolades was his (1968) NCAA single-game rushing record of 347 yards, versus the University of Wisconsin. Johnson was selected to the 1968 All-America Team; then in 1969, Ron was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. Prior to the 1970 season, Ron Johnson was traded to the New York Giants; he played six seasons in a New York uniform.
David M. Nelson (1938), as a 5-7/155-pound University of Michigan halfback, Nelson played on the same team with (fellow NHS graduate) Forest Evashevski, and Californian Tom Harmon. In 1941, Nelson led the Wolverines in rushing, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Nelson would gain widespread recognition as an innovative football coach. Among several contributions to the game, Nelson developed the Wing T formation.
Terry Tyler (1974), selected to Sunkist All-American Team; played 11 seasons of professional basketball with three NBA teams
Willis Ward (1931), won the high jump at 1929 MHSAA championships; won both the 120 and 220-yard hurdle events at 1930 MHSAA finals. Ward set a national high school mark (1.98 meters) in the high jump while winning a third consecutive DPSSAL title in 1931. Willis Ward became just the second African-American to letter in football at the University of Michigan; in track, Ward was a three-time All-American and eight-time Big-Ten champion. Ward later served many years as a Wayne County probate judge.