Walking the Color Line in 1909

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Law, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-12-05 22:11Z by Steven

Walking the Color Line in 1909

Bygone Brookland

Robert Malesky

Isabel Wall. Photo from Wall family album, courtesy of Larissa Clayton

Little 7-year-old Isabel Wall, blonde and blue-eyed, bounced along beside her mother as they walked the two blocks from their home at 1019 Kearny Street to the Brookland School at 10th and Monroe. Isabel was to be enrolled in the first grade.

The principal, Mary Little, asked some basic questions and then filled out the form to admit the child and let her begin classes. It wasn’t to last. Ten days later, she withdrew the admission, due to “information subsequently obtained.” The information? School officials had heard that Isabel’s father, Stephen, though he was light-skinned and had a white wife, was in reality a black man. The Brookland School was for whites only…

Note from Steven F. Riley: see the book The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America by Daniel J. Sharfstein.

Read the entire article here.

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