It’s good the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation has possession of the building where many of the group’s members were educated, as were scores of others before them.
A non-descript brick building on the northeast corner of Alliance Street, where it intersects South Stokes Street, the former Colored School houses a glorious history of an ugly period in Harford County history.
There’s no way around it: The school is a reminder of how for far too long, the all-white leadership of the county’s public school system kept African-American children in the eastern part of the county out of schools and classrooms they deemed to be for their white kids only.
We have often told the tale of how Harford County Public Schools leaders clung to segregation for a decade after the Supreme Court ruled it illegal. For all of the oppression and foot dragging into integration that building symbolizes, those who not only grew up in that school, but also were well educated there, often fondly remember their years there.
Many good things were created in the building that was borne out of the bad intentions that created it and kept it operating as the embodiment of segregation.
As joyful leaders of the effort to acquire the school basked in the glow of seeing the first step of their mission accomplished, they also acknowledged this very difficult first step is only part of the dreams they have for the Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us,” Patricia Cole, the foundation committee chair, said after the foundation settled on the purchase of the property.
Whenever an effort of such enormity is undertaken there is always much to be done. There’s no doubt this group will get it all done. It won’t be done quickly nor easily, but it will get done.
When it’s finished, no matter how long that might take, the Colored School will immediately become a must-see stop on Havre de Grace’s burgeoning museum trail.