Cecil County school integration

In 1952, shortly before Brown v Board of Education, Superintendent Morris Rannels asked the board to build a new school for the African-American community to replace inadequate facilities.  The Superintendent said it was for all high school students throughout the county.  It replaced inadequate facilities, including one that was over 50 years old and another hastily put in as a dormitory during World War-II.  The new George Washington Carver High School was dedicated in January 1955.  This modern facility had all the latest in facilities including science rooms, a combination gymnasium/auditorium, complete with stage, and much more.  For the basketball team a full sized court made it possible for  Carver to play their homes games at the school, instead of at the Elkton Armory.1

Months after Brown v Board of Education, the Superintendent refused to admit African-American children of Navy student to  Bainbridge.   The NAACP and other interested parties sued the county and as a result of a settlement, they were admitted the next year.2,3,4

As the 1950s continued the county compromised more, moving slowly toward integration by using the “Freedom of Choice Plan.”  If an African-American student wanted to, they could apply to go to a white school.  A few students took this option, but not many.5

Finally in June 1964, the modern George Washington Carver High School closed.  Complete integration of the system came the next year when Superintendent Robert A. Gibson also closed the final two segregated elementary schools, Coppin and Carver.  With this change, the county became the first on the Shore to completely integrate public education.6,7,8




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