Nov 18, 2009

Education pioneer Williams dies

(Aegis) ... Dr. Williams was one of 10 children of the late Hattie Brown and Vandellia Armitage Williams, a sharecropping farmer whose family was uprooted from the Perryman peninsula during the creation of Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1917 when Dr. Williams was just 3. The Williams children grew up in the era of segregation when black children in Harford County were not allowed to attend school with white children and were shunted into crowded, older buildings, where they were taught only by members of their own race and classes stopped at seventh grade. To earn a high school diploma, a black child had to leave the county to attend school in neighboring counties or Baltimore City, usually in a “colored only” school.
... The Harford County school system Dr. Williams left in 1962 was still segregated by race, even though the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the so-called separate but equal doctrine in education eight years earlier. The Harford school system was not fully integrated until the 1965-66 school year and then, only after pressure from the state department of education, of which Dr. Williams was then a part. Continued

Photo: Federal Hill Colored School, Route 165, above Jarrettsville, Maryland (Falmanac).