Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Civil Rights (African American)

Protestors outside Girard College

After numerous attempts in the 1950s to desegregate the school through the courts, African Americans began organizing civic demonstrations outside the school, as in this photograph from 1965. (National Archives)

National Archives

Established in 1848 by the bequest of wealthy merchant Stephen Girard, Girard College was intended for white male orphans. After numerous attempts in the 1950s to desegregate the school through the courts, African Americans began organizing civic demonstrations outside the school, as in this photograph from 1965. The call for civil rights included access to quality education, leading to struggles to desegregate schools all over the country. By 1968, African American males began attending Girard College; girls were not admitted until 1984.

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