Howard County to commemorate 50th anniversary of school desegregation

Lisa Philip
Contact ReporterHoward County Times
Howard County organizations to commemorate 50th anniversary of school desegregation

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Howard County public schools, completed 11 years after the Supreme Court ruled state laws segregating public schools unconstitutional. On the evening of Sept. 29, several county organizations will commemorate the milestone with an event at the Miller Branch library, "Every Dream Begins with a Dreamer."

After the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, the Howard County school system implemented a plan to gradually integrate local schools over several years, rather than integrating schools all at once.

"The powers-that-be just resisted carrying out the law," Howard Lyles, past president of the Harriet Tubman Foundation and a retired state prison warden, told the Baltimore Sun in September. "Many black families felt that it was a time of outright racism on the part of the school administration."

"Every Dream Begins with a Dreamer" is a collaboration between the Howard County Historical Society, Howard Community College, Howard County Library System and Howard County African American History Project. It will begin at 7p.m. with comments from Howard County Executive Alan Kittleman.

Kittleman's father, Robert Kittleman, was president of the NAACP's Howard County chapter and was active in the movement to desegregate the county's schools.

Keynote speaker Patrick O'Guinn, a Howard Community College associate professor of criminal justice and business law, will talk about the legal process of desegregating Howard County's public schools, and alumni from Harriet Tubman High School will answer questions about what Howard County was like when schools were segregated.

Harriet Tubman High was an all-black high school that opened in 1949 and closed in 1965 following the desegregation of the county's schools. Alumni commemorated the 50th anniversary of the school's closing on Sept. 19, with a visit to the old school building, a slide show of class pictures and an exhibit of old newspaper clippings.

For more information on "Every Dream Begins with a Dreamer," go to http://hchsmd.org/events/.

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