Special Edition: Segregation, Integration and the Milford 11
Delaware’s first African American attorney went before the state’s first Catholic judge in 1952 to ask that Delaware’s schools be desegregated. The judge agreed that segregation should be dismantled but that only the U.S. Supreme Court had the power to do so. It did so on May 17, 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education. That September, 11 African American students enrolled in the all-White Milford High School in southern Delaware. For about a week things went smoothly. And then a petty crook arrived, joined by a “pseudo minister” who whipped up segregationist crowds threatening violence to anyone who supported integration. Despite efforts by Delaware’s first Jewish Attorney General to uphold the law of the land, the town was “blown apart” – just as the school board president had predicted. What happened in Milford resonated through all of Delaware and the nation for many years. This special edition of ExtraOrdinary Districts uses archival audio from participants, as well as interviews with Delaware’s former secretary of agriculture Walter Kee and Northwestern University historian Brett V. Gadsden, who put the events of 1954 into perspective.
(CORRECTION: Please note that in the podcast Walter Kee is incorrectly identified as Delaware’s former secretary of education. That was a slip of the tongue. He is the former secretary of agriculture.)
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