|Walter Mills, Courtesy Photo appearing in Afro |
“The worst white teacher is better than the best black teacher.”
This outrageous statement was made by George Fox, former Anne Arundel County Public Schools superintendent. He spoke during a trial where Walter Mills, a principal at Parole Elementary School in Annapolis, had filed a lawsuit against the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. Thurgood Marshall was Mills's attorney.
The year? 1939. The issue? Black teachers were paid less than white teachers. Marshall won the suit.
End of the story? No. It bothers me that the school where I taught, George Fox Middle in Pasadena, Maryland, is named after this superintendent. How can we ask middle school students to be proud of their school when it’s named after a bigot?
A much better name would be Walter Mills Middle School, a name worth living up to. Walter Mills fought for what was right and made a difference.
Maybe Walter Mills had no direct connection to George Fox Middle School, but then again, neither did Fox. Wouldn't it be poetic justice if the name George Fox were replaced by Walter Mills ?
Note: Obviously the story is not so brief. It is a fascinating one. There’s no need for me to rehash all the facts when you can read more about these two men (see below). You read and decide if my suggestion is a good one.
The Baltimore Sun: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-11-21/news/bs-ar-mills-exhibit-20101121_1_walter-s-mills-black-teachers-african-american-teachers
Maryland Gazette - http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/maryland-gazette/mi_8145/is_20051015/legacy-george-fox-grandfather-school/ai_n51384329/
You can also visit the Banneker-Douglas Museum in Annapolis which has an exhibit on Walter Mills through April 2: http://bdmuseum.com/