Becoming Principal at Barclay School

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


Though no one knew then, the “real fireworks” that woke up the neighbors of the old Baltimore Oriole baseball park in the wee hours of July 4, 1944 cleared the way for the building of Barclay School in 1959. The assignment of Gertrude Williams as assistant principal there a decade later guaranteed that fireworks would erupt on that spot again and again. The spectacular, eight-alarm blaze in 1944 reduced the ballpark, in the 300 block of West 29th Street in northeast Baltimore, to rubble, sent the then minor league Orioles to an old stadium on 33rd Street that was later replaced by Memorial Stadium, and left for the local tots to teens crowd “a vacant lot ideal for fort construction or ball playing.”1


School System School Board Black Child General Fund White Parent 
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  1. 6.
    Hugh J. Scott, The Black School Superintendent, Messiah or Scapegoat (Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1980) 211, 216. Mike Bowler, “Seattle Wonders, ‘Baltimore? And Bust,’” Baltimore Sun, August 9, 1971. Bowler observed that the Seattle Central Region for which Patterson was responsible included 7,000 students, about the number of teachers in the Baltimore City school district (which had 190,827 students).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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