62 Years Ago Today, Baltimore Schools Were Desegregated

On September 7, 1954, Baltimore schools officially opened on an integrated basis.

This was made possible by the Supreme Court’s decision on May 17, 1954, which ruled that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional.

“Only six white students chose to attend formerly all-black schools, none in the secondary grades. Nearly 1,600 African-American students would enter 49 formerly all-white schools, accounting for less [than] 3 percent of total black enrollment.”

The integration of Baltimore schools was heavily protested by white people. For instance, at Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary School in Baltimore, 30 white women protested the decision. Their homemade signs read “Segregation is Our Heritage” and “Are We Satisfied? No. We Want Our Rights.”

Some of the protests by whites got violent. One example of this is when a 24 year-old by the name of Jack Zimmerman attacked a 14-year-old Black student named Leon Thompson.

Baltimore Schools were not doing enough to integrate their schools, and in 1973, “the U.S. Office of Civil Rights was threatening to withhold federal funds, charging that the city was not doing enough to integrate its schools.”

Today, on a nationwide level, American schools are more segregated than they were in 1968.

While the decision to desegregate schools was a major one, it’s clear that America still has a long way to go.