Memories of Desegregation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – Part 2

Two counties, Talbot and Kent County, are almost next to each other, separated by Queen Anne’s County, the one into which the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has its eastern terminus.

They took different paths in implementing the Supreme Court’s desegregation order.

While Talbot did one grade at a time, starting with the first grade, Kent County did not.

Sometime in the early 1960’s when when I was visiting my grandparents, James Clayland and Helen Roe Stevens, in Church Hill, we had just finished playing bridge with my maiden Aunt Louise, a commercial teacher at the all-white Chestertown High School.

She told of how that day they had had an all county high school teacher meeting at which the superintendent had talked about how a new high school was to be built to which all students, white and black (she probably said, “Negro” or “colored”) would go.

She seemed OK with that, although did mention that she didn’t know whether the teachers from the other school would be as qualified as those at her school.

My grandfather’s ancestors had owned a couple of slaves at the multi-generational relatively small 180-acre family farm near Barclay,   (My grandfather played a mean game of checkers around the wood stove in Barclay on winter days.)

The closest high school to the family farm was in Sudlersville, where both my mother and father attended high school,

But, back to the early 1960’s.

My grandfather shook his head and said something to the effect that that would be up to the next generation.   That night he had a stroke from which he did not recover.

Since I’m talking about the slave holding times of the maternal side of my family, I should mention that the slaves were buried in the family burial ground and, at least one stayed on the farm as a hired hand after he was freed.

Ironically, my father’s oncologist at Georgetown University Hospital in the late 1980’s was a black woman named Stevens.  She was from Minnesota, so I think the odds of her having any connection with the Eastern Shore of Maryland was remote.

More tomorrow.


Memories of Desegregation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – Part 2 — 1 Comment

  1. I am a life long citizen of Queen Anne’s County at age 14 I begin working on commercial crab boats ad commercial oyster boats sometime around 16 years old I also started working in the Tree Care Business selling firewood, doing odd jobs , etc..

    I am a avid eastern shore historian who has a great deal of information about the Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot county area of the Shore.

    I enjoy the eastern shore history with all my heart and soul.

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