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Teacher at Charles Carroll of Carrollton

  • Gertrude S. Williams
  • Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Oral History book series (PSOH)

Abstract

When Gertrude moved to Baltimore in 1949, the city was home to more black residents than any other northeastern urban center. It retained a decidedly Southern social structure and climate. While a substantial black middle class lived and consolidated their resources in neighborhoods adjoining the black cultural mecca of Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore, the majority were restricted to three severely crowded ghetto areas, with one of the worst tuberculosis rates in the nation. They were permitted to hold only certain jobs—principally the most menial, the dirtiest, the most dangerous, and the lowest paying. Most entertainment facilities barred them. The few that didn’t relegated them to balconies. Only the most limited and shabby playgrounds and sports facilities were open to them. Most restaurants were out of bounds as were all hotels for black out of town visitors. African American children were assigned to dilapidated, segregated schools, and those who persevered and sought a college education were forced to enroll in a historically black college or look out of state, since higher education institutions in Maryland were “white only.”1

Keywords

School System School Board Baltimore City School Desegregation White Teacher 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Sidney Hollander Foundation, Toward Equality (Hollander Foundation, 1960; second edition, 2003) 5–7.Google Scholar
  2. Richard M. Bernard, ed., Snow Belt Cities (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990) 27.Google Scholar
  3. See also Karen Olson, “Old West Baltimore: Segregation African-American Culture, and the Struggle for Equality,” in The Baltimore Book: New Views of Local History, ed. Elizabeth Fee, Linda Shopes, and Linda Zeidman (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991) 61–63 and “Pennsylvania Avenue,” Soul of America.com <http://www.soulofamerica.com/cityfldr/baltimore16.html>.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Quoted in Marilyn Gittell and T. Edward Hollander, Six Urban School Districts (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968) 178.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Pancoast et al., “Report of a Study on Desegregation,” 8. Nonetheless, white education officials maintained that black teachers were less prepared and less competent than certified whites. Reportedly lower scores on the National Teachers Examination were cited as evidence. Pancourt, 104. Reed Sarrat, The Ordeal of Desegregation (New York: Harper and Row, 1966) 113.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    For other accounts of the supervisory system by other veterans of the Baltimore City Public Schools, see Rebecca E. Carroll, Snapshots From the Life of an African American Woman (Baltimore: C.H. Fairfax Co., Inc., 1997) 78–79; and M. Adele Mitzel quoted in Jeanne Saddler, “Why Baltimore Pupils Are At the Bottom,” Sunday Sun, November 7, 1976. Carroll, an African American, described “a waiting room full of probationary teachers who had come to the Administration Annex on Madison and Lafayette Avenues to have their plans for the week checked.” Mitzel, who was not identified by race and who was in 1976 the director of testing for the Maryland State Department of Education, recalled, “When I taught in Baltimore city, we had to have lesson plans, a course of study, and we even had to write out the questions we would ask the children and the expected answers…” Gertrude stated with certainty that both the white and colored systems “had quality supervisors who took their directions from the top.”Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Juan Williams, Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary (New York: Times Books, 1998) 90–91. See also Leander L. Boykin, “The Status and Trends of Differentials Between White and Negro Teachers’ Salaries in the Southern States, 1900–1945,” Journal of Negro Education (Winter 1949) 40–47;Google Scholar
  8. and Michelle Foster, Black Teachers on Teaching (New York: New Press, 1997) xl—xli.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Boykin, “The Status and Trends of Differentials,” 40–47. Vernon S. Vavrina, “Evolving Role of the Superintendent in Baltimore City,” Baltimore Bulletin of Education XLII.2 (1964–1965) 14.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Quoted in Reed Sarratt, The Ordeal of Desegregation, the First Decade (New York: Harper & Row, 1966) 79.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Studies of the 1934 decision include Richard Kluger, Simple Justice (New York, 1973)Google Scholar
  12. and James T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education, a Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled legacy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). For detailed examination of the desegregation process in Baltimore see Carrington, “The Struggle for Desegregation,”; Samuel L. Banks, “A Descriptive Study of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners as an Agent in School Desegregation, 1932–1964,” Ed.D. Thesis, George Washington University, 1976; Julia Roberts O’Wesney, “Historical Study of the Progress of Racial Desegregation in the Public Schools of Baltimore, Maryland,” Ed.D. Thesis, University of Maryland, 1970; Elinor Pancoast et al., “Report of a Study on Desegregation.”Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    See chapters 4 and 10 in The Baltimore Book, ed. Fee, Shopes, and Zeidman, for discussions of residential segregation. W. Edward Orser, Block Busting in Baltimore (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2000) examines the role of realtors, speculators, and federal and local housing laws in promoting white flight and impeding desegregation.Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    Baltimore Sun, February 12, 1959. Mike Bowler, The Lessons of Change (Baltimore: Commissioned by Fund for Educational Excellence, 1991) 5–6.Google Scholar
  15. See also Sherry Olson, Baltimore, the Building of An American City (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980) 369–370.Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    Robert L. Crain, The Politics of School Desegregation (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1968) 72–76. Carrington, “The Struggle for Desegregation,”55–78l.Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    Robert L. Crain, The Politics of School Desegregation, 78, 79. Mary Gittel and T. Edward Hollander, Six Urban School Districts (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968) 180.Google Scholar
  18. 26.
    T. Anthony Gass, “The Baltimore NAACP During the Civil Rights Movement, 1958–1963,” M.A. Thesis, Morgan State University, 2001; Hollander Foundation, “Toward Equality”; Vernon E. Horn, “Integrating Baltimore: Protest and Accommodation, 1945–1963, Masters Thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, 1991;Google Scholar
  19. Peter Irons, “Robert Mack Bell v. Maryland,” in The Courage of Their Convictions (New York: The Free Press, 1988) 131–152; Dennis O’Brien, “Caste of One’s Skin,” Baltimore Sun, November 13, 1994; Gilbert Sandler, “Protests That Changed a City,” Baltimore Sun, February 14, 1995; Linell Smith, “Four Lives and a Milestone in the Movement,” Baltimore Sun, August 23 and 24, 1998 (two-part series). Barbara Mills, “ Got My Mind Set On Freedom” Maryland’s Story of Black and White Activism, 1663–2000 (Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 2002).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gertrude S. Williams and Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gertrude S. Williams
  • Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson

There are no affiliations available

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