The Havre de Grace Colored school was built in the 1900's as a grammar school for kids ages five to seven. This school was seen as a beacon of hope for the African American youth. The Havre de Grace Colored school made tremendous strides in the community to give their youth a chance at a future. They even made sure that African American students that wanted to go high school had that chance by creating one for them. Even though, The Havre de Grace Colored School did not have every thing that white students had access to they gave their students a better future through the power of education.


  • Havre de Grace Colored school in 1910
    Havre de Grace Colored school in 1910
  • Community leader that helped establish a PTA for the African American students
    Community leader that helped establish a PTA for the African American students
  • First graduating class of Havre de Grace Colored in 1932
    First graduating class of Havre de Grace Colored in 1932
  • The Havre de Grace Consolidated School
    The Havre de Grace Consolidated School
  • The principals that the consolidated school was named after
    The principals that the consolidated school was named after

During 1910 the Havre de Grace Colored School was built for primary school aged kids. During this time period Harford county only offered African American children education up to eight grade, yet high school was offered to the white children. If the African American kids wanted a high school education, parents would have to send them off to live with relatives in Baltimore, Cecil county, or Philadelphia. When the year turned to 1920, Mr. Clayton C. Stanbury, Sr. and other community leaders established a county wide parent teacher association for the African American youth. The parent teacher association ended up getting Harford county to approve on building a high school in Havre de Grace for African American students to attend in 1930. In order to make room for the high school students the Havre de Grace Colored School added on a brick structure with four rooms on to the remainder of the original building so they could begin to teach grades first through eleventh. When the year 1953 came around the school was moved to 201 oakington road and renamed Havre de Grace Consolidated School now providing grades kindergarten through twelfth for African American children. During 1964-65 schools began to integrate which lead to the final graduating class of the Havre de Grace Consolidated School. The school was then named Roye-Williams elementary after the former principals. When schools were moved, the Havre de Grace Colored School was turned into a doctor’s office. After ten ten years, the Hirsh family put the property up for sale. The Havre de Grace Colored School foundation president and community raised $153,000 to buy the property in hopes of turning the school into a museum or community center.

Many schools were segregated because white parents did not want their children attending a school with African American children due to the fact that they did not want races intermingling with each other. White parents also thought these children did not deserve to go to the same school as their kids. The case Plessy vs. Ferguson made it worse by making it a law that schools had to be segregated. Schools were supposed to be separate but equal, yet that was far from the truth. Schools for white students had new buildings, textbooks, qualified teachers, etc. Schools for African American students had less adequate supplies and learning utensils. In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Plessy v. Ferguson in order to maintain segregated grounds in America. For half a century, it served as legal grounds for racial segregation in virtually all areas of life, as well as education. Segregated schools in America where separate by race, but not equal in the slightest. Whites attended school in brick and stone buildings, while black students were relegated to unheated, overcrowded shacks with crude furniture, inadequate libraries, and under-qualified teachers. By the 1950s, little had changed. Many African Americans believed that the best hope for racial equality was education. They looked to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to file a lawsuit on segregated schools. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment says that no state may deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction. The court deemed that the segregated schools where unequal beyond measure. Ultimately, Brown vs. Board of Education reversed the Plessy vs. Ferguson case. The Brown case was limited only to public schools, but it was believed to imply that segregation is not permissible in other public places. 

An interesting fact about the Havre De Grace colored school is that transportation to the school was not provided until the late 1940's. Students had to rely on family members or public transportation such as the bus or train. Many students were forced to walk long distances every morning to obtain an education if they could not pay for public transportation. If parents could afford it, they would rent houses in Havre De Grace so their kids could go to school. However, this wasn't the case for the vast majority of students. If you did not have money to rent, a car to drive or a family member living in the area, you were not able to go to school.

Langston Hughes, a very accomplished novelist and playwriter, visited the Havre De Grace colored school multiple times. He was very close with the schools principal, Mr. Leon Roye, having been fraternity brothers at Lincoln University. Mr. Hughes taught the students composition and inspired them to become better people in the classroom and in the community.

"Brown v. Board of Education (of Topeka)." In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, by Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica Digital Learning, 2017. http://ezproxy.harford.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ebconcise/brown_v_board_of_education_of_topeka/0?institutionId=2171

Davidson, Helen, and Angela Harmon. "Brown v. Board of Education." In Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy Through Adolescence, edited by Gale. 3rd ed. Gale, 2016. http://ezproxy.harford.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegchita/brown_v_board_of_education/0?institutionId=2171

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.

Mims, Courtney. "Bridging the Gap: The Havre De Grace Colored School." WMARBaltimore. Last modified February 19, 2019. Accessed October 29, 2019.  https://www.wmar2news.com/news/region/harford-county/bridging-the-gap-the-havre-de-grace-colored-school.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.

Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. "Havre De Grace Colored SchoolHistory." Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Accessed October 29,2019. https://www.hdgcoloredschool.net/the-history.