Desegregation in Poolesville
Superintendent Forbes H. Norris had begun integration of Montgomery County in 1955 after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. At the start of the 1956-1957 school year, 150 white adults blocked the entrances to the Poolesville school. Thirty policemen came and escorted fifteen black students, all seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, past the hostile crowd into the school. African American parents were determined to keep their children in school, and the police superintendent, James S. McAuliffe, guaranteed the safety of the black students. Meanwhile, segregationist leader Everette Severe urged white parents to keep their children out of school until the school board could hold a hearing about the integration process. Thirty white parents presented Norris with a petition for a hearing, but the superintendent refused to annul the integration order, because “it (desgregation) was the law.” By September 12, 1956, 90 percent of the students had returned to school.