Arundel History

August 06, 2006

Anne Arundel County public schools marked the beginning of the end of legal racial segregation 50 years ago this month, two years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education struck it down nationwide.

The Sun reported on Aug. 10, 1956, that the county Board of Education had accepted 53 "Negro" children who had applied to attend the first three grades in all-white schools in their neighborhoods.

That was a small percentage of the estimated 1,000-plus black schoolchildren in those grades.

"This will be the county's first year of limited integration," the newspaper reported. "Six of the pupils will be admitted to Annapolis schools and the rest are scattered throughout the county north of the Severn River." The greatest resistance came from the southern part of the county, the report said. Efforts to restrict black enrollment in the pilot year clearly remained. David Jenkins, superintendent of schools, said four black pupils would probably be the largest number for any school, according to the report. Among the 53 children to enter previously all-white schools was Lonnie Allen, the 6-year-old son of Dr. Aris T. Allen , a prominent member of the school board. The boy was to attend Annapolis Elementary School rather than Stanton Elementary School in the Clay Street community, the only school open to him under segregation.

[ Sources: The Sun archives and Paul McCardell, library researcher.]

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