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Jo Ann Robinson Research Files

 Collection
Identifier: R0050-GW

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. As of October 2020, no oral interviews have been digitized or are available online.

Dates

  • 1970-2009

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Historical Note

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."

Extent

12.9 Linear Feet

Arrangement

Collection is arranged in two series:
  • Barclay Elementary-Middle School, 1970-2009
  • Baltimore City Public Schools, 1921-2002

Custodial History

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.

Processing Information

Collection was processed by UB Special Collections & Archives.
Title
Jo Ann Robinson Research Files
Author
Finding aid prepared by UB Special Collections & Archives staff. Revised by Aiden Faust (2011). Revised by Laura Bell (October 2020).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Regional Studies Archives Repository

Contact:
H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA
410-837-4253