50 years ago, Girard College admitted its first black students. What does that mean today?

September 11, 2018

By Staff

What Owen Gowans III remembers most about his first day of second grade is the cameras: the click and flash of dozens of cameras as he and three other black boys made history.

The day was Sept. 11, 1968, and the boys integrated Girard College, the stately boarding school in the heart of North Philadelphia that was previously, closed to African Americans. It took months of round-the-clock protests, a Philadelphia speech by Martin Luther King Jr., and years of court fights to open the gates to children of color.

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