Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 1962-1969.
Hardcover. Oblong folio. Measuring 12.5" x 11”. String-tied red faux leather album with "Snaps" stamped in gilt on the front board. Contains 116 black and white photographs and 26 in color measuring between 1.75” x 1.5" to 8.5” x 6.5" with captions. Album is good with worn and detached leaves; photos generally near fine or better.
The circumstances and demographics of the Center Street School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were used as evidence in a fourteen year legal battle to force desegregation in Milwaukee's school system. In 1965, Lloyd Barbee filed suit against the Milwaukee school board and superintendent on behalf of the parents of thirty-two black and nine white students. He used Center Street as an example of the board's practice of adjusting district boundaries based on overpopulation when it noticed a certain area was about to have a significant increase of African American schoolchildren. In the late 1950s, when the board noticed this effect in Center Street's district, it realigned nearly half of its blocks, and those blocks had mostly white residents.
By 1964, Center Street was only five percent white, and this album, which internal evidence suggests was compiled by a white kindergarten teacher at the school, reflects that. Of the 96 portraits of children, 91 of them are black. The album is an interesting artifact of artificial school segregation. With many of the students named and 12 class composites, it's a makeshift multi-year kindergarten yearbook and shows the children at parties, at a pumpkin hunt, and going on field trips.
A pleasing album depicting an oasis of kindergarten glee in the midst of institutional segregation.