Jo Ann Robinson Research Files
Scope and Contents Note
Jo Ann Robinson, Professor of History at Morgan State University, collected the materials in this collection while active as a parent volunteer at Barclay Elementary-Middle School. A major portion of the material informed oral interviews conducted by Robinson with Gertrude Williams and Williams’ associates, resulting in the book, "Education As My Agenda: Gertrude Williams, Race and the Baltimore Public Schools" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
This collection consists of reports, correspondence, clippings, oral history interview tapes, transcripts, and photographs documenting Gertrude Williams' career in the Baltimore City Public School System, with particular focus on Barclay Middle School (P.S. 054).
The first series, Barclay Elementary-Middle School, 1970-2009, contains materials specically related to Williams' time with Barclay Elementary-Middle School. Among the research materials in this series are oral history interviews with Barclay Elementary-Middle School alumni and staff members, and other individuals. The second series, Baltimore City Public Schools, 1921-2002, has the broader focus of all Baltimore City Public. This series includes materials documenting advocacy and community groups and management materials among others.
Topics documented in this collection include desegregation in Baltimore City Schools, efforts to institute school based management and school center budgeting, and the perennial struggle over city and state funding for education.
- Robinson, Jo Ann, 1942- (Person)
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright of this collection to the University Foundation. However, copyright for some items in this collection are held by their respective creators.
Gertrude Williams’ service in the Baltimore school system spanned the years 1949-1998. She began as a third grade teacher at Carrollton Elementary School (P.S. 139). In 1965, having earned a Counseling Certificate in Elementary Guidance from Loyola College in Baltimore, she assumed the position of Counselor at Mordecai Gist Elementary School (P.S. 069). In 1969, she was appointed assistant principal at Barclay Middle School (P.S. 054). She became principal there four years later and remained at that post until her retirement on July 1, 1998.
Following the belief that staff and parents should have a hand in determining school programs and goals, Williams developed a strong collaborative model of school governance. She and the Barclay community gained a reputation as outspoken advocates and fighters for quality education. They pioneered in securing one of the first Pre-Kindergarten programs in Baltimore City, the first all-day kindergarten, and the addition of grades seven and eight to Barclay School. Williams’ crowning achievement came in 1990 when the community won a hard-fought battle to adopt a private school curriculum.
Jo Ann Robinson, Professor of History at Morgan State University, collected the material while active as a parent volunteer at Barclay Elementary-Middle School and used it as she wrote her book, "Education As My Agenda: Gertrude Williams, Race and the Baltimore Public Schools."
14.00 Linear Feet (14 containers)
Collection is arranged in two series:
- Barclay Elementary-Middle School, 1970-2009
- Baltimore City Public Schools, 1921-2002
Jo Ann Robinson, Professor of History at Morgan State University, donated the collection to the University of Baltimore in 2005. An additional accrual [Series I, Box 9] was received in May 2009.
- Finding aid for the Jo Ann Robinson Research Files
- Finding aid prepared by Special Collections and Archives staff. Revised by Aiden Faust (2011). Revised by Laura Bell (October 2020).
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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