Location: 15th Avenue and Madison St., Gary, Indiana 46407 (Lake County, Indiana)
Installed 2014 Indiana Historical Bureau, Froebel Alumni Park Committee, and Northern Indiana Public Service Company
Visit Blogging Hoosier History to learn more about the Froebel strikes.
Froebel opened here, 1912, as many European immigrants and southern blacks moved to Gary for jobs in steel mills. An experiment in progressive education, it served students of diverse backgrounds and the local community. Despite early status as integrated school, black students were excluded from many extracurricular activities and facilities into 1940s. Closed 1977.
After WWII, Froebel made national headlines when hundreds of white students walked out protesting "integration experiment" there. "Hate strikes" lasted several weeks in 1945 and reflected growing racial tension in North. In 1946, Gary school board adopted desegregation policy, but discrimination continued. Indiana state law desegregating public schools passed 1949.
Visit Blogging Hoosier History to read the related post, "A Challenge to Integration: The Froebel School Strikes of 1945"
Froebel opened here,1 1912,2 as many European immigrants and southern blacks moved to Gary for jobs in steel mills.3 An experiment in progressive education,4 it served students of diverse backgrounds and the local community. 5 Despite early status as integrated school, black students were excluded from many extracurricular activities and facilities into 1940s.6 Closed 1977.7
After WWII, Froebel made national headlines when hundreds of white students walked out protesting "integration experiment" there.8 "Hate strikes" lasted several weeks in 1945 and reflected growing racial tension in North.9 In 1946, Gary school board adopted desegregation policy, but discrimination continued.10 Indiana state law desegregating public schools passed 1949. 11
 Thomas E. Knotts, Mayor's Message, in Annual Report of the Heads of Municipal Departments of the City of Gary, Ind., for the Year Ending December 31, 1910, accessed HathiTrust - states that "plans have been made for construction during the coming year of the Froebel School building at Fifteenth Avenue and Madison Street;" "New Froebel School Most Complete Plant in State," Gary Evening Post, May 28, 1913, 1; Sanborn Insurance Maps of Gary, IN, 1915, p. 36, accessed Indiana State Library (hereafter noted as ISL).
 "Gary to Spend More Money," Indianapolis Star, May 30, 1911, 17, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; "Gary Firm are Winners," Indianapolis Star, September 1, 1911, n.p.; "Gary Schools Open Record Term Today," Gary Daily Tribune, September 3, 1912, 1; "Gary Schools Opened Today," Gary Evening Post, September 3, 1912, 8; "300 Children in Froebel School," Gary Evening Post, September 11, 1912, 7.
On May 30, 1911, the Indianapolis Star reported that the Gary school board had awarded a contract to English Brothers Co. of Champaign, IL for the construction of Froebel School. By September 1, 1911 excavation for the new building was already underway. When Gary's 1912-1913 academic year began September 3, 1912, newspapers reported that Froebel was not yet entirely complete, with only the first floor ready for use. Students were sent home and told to report later that week. By September 11, 1912, the Gary Evening Post wrote that "organization at the Froebel school is fast coming into shape" and that "at the present time twelve rooms are being used and about three hundred students, from the sixth to tenth grades inclusive, are going to school in the new building."
 "Gary Again in the Van of Progress," Gary Daily Tribune, November 1, 1911, 2; "Froebel Evening School Growing in Great Strides," Gary Daily Tribune, October 26, 1914, 6; "A.Y.M.C.A" Gary Daily Tribune, August 8, 1916, 4; Neil Betten and Raymond A. Mohl, "The Evolution of Racism in an Industrial City, 1906-1940: A Case Study of Gary, Indiana," Journal of Negro History (January 1974): 51-64; James B. Lane, City of the Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), 35-37, 68-71; Raymond A. Mohl and Neil Betten, Steel City: Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1950 (New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1986), 5-6, 48-54, 179-181.
Founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation, Gary quickly found itself dominated by the city's steel mills. Secondary sources agree that it was this expanding market for steel that shaped the city's built environment and encouraged population growth there. Between 1906 and 1930, increasing numbers of European immigrants, southern blacks, and Mexicans flocked to the region looking for work in the steel industry. Mohl and Betten describe this population expansion in their book Steel City, stating that ". . . Gary was the destination of thousands of European immigrants seeking the American dream, [and] it was also the goal of southern blacks looking for the promised land in the industrial North." Reflecting on the growth among the black population, an August 8, 1916 Gary Daily Tribune article described how "Northern industrial cities like Gary cannot afford to overlook the colored man any longer. He is coming to them in large numbers. . ." WWI and anti-immigration policies passed in the years after the war curtailed the number of European immigrants coming to the city, providing opportunities for black workers to fill more industrial jobs in Gary. Nevertheless, growth among the foreign population did not stop. Mohl and Betten report that by 1920, Gary's population reflected over fifty nationalities. This population diversity was mirrored in the city's schools (see footnote 5).
 "Gary Schools Are Surely Progressive," Indianapolis Star, February 19, 1912, 6; "New Froebel School Most Complete in State," Gary Evening Post, May 28, 1913, 1; William Paxton Burris, The Public School System of Gary, Ind., U.S. Bureau of Education, Bulletin, no. 18, (Washington, D.C., 1914), 5-7, 16, accessed Archive.org; "Sees Lesson for New York Schools in Gary Plan," New York Tribune, April 25, 1915, 5, accessed Chronicling America; "Gary School Plan's Critics Answered," NY Times, October 13, 1915, 14, accessed ProQuest; "1,000 Pupils in Riot Against Gary Plan," New York Times, October 17, 1917, 6; "The Gary School Plan: A Debate," The Independent, December 20, 1915, 452, accessed GoogleBooks ; Randolph S. Bourne, The Gary Schools (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916); Ronald Cohen and Raymond Mohl,The Paradox of Progressive Education: The Gary Plan and Urban Schooling (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1979); Ronald Cohen, Children of the Mill: Schooling and Society in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1960 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 1; Kenneth S. Volk, "The Gary Plan and New Technology: What Might Have Been?," Journal of Technology Studies (2004): 39-48; Kathleen Weiler, "What Can We Learn from Progressive Education?," Radical Teacher (May 2004): 4-9.
Froebel opened as part of Superintendent William Wirt's nationally-recognized Gary Plan. As described in the Independent in 1915, under the Gary Plan, the school plants were "equipped to meet all the needs of the pupils for study, work, and play." Froebel, like Gary's Emerson School (also K-12), not only prepared students for traditional, academic work, but provided for practical, hands-on work. Facilities at the school included academic and vocational classrooms, industrial shops, two swimming pools, an auditorium, playground and gardening areas, a print shop, and a nursery, among others. See Burris's 1914 report of the Gary public school system for a detailed floor plan of Froebel.
According to Cohen, "the Gary school plan became synonymous with progressive education." Froebel and Emerson emphasized efficiency in learning, while at the same time working to "educat[e] the whole child, physically, artistically, manually, scientifically, as well as intellectually" (Bourne, 14). The Gary schools did this by dividing students into two groups or "platoons," as Wirt called them. One platoon would spend part of the day in the classrooms, while the second platoon did practical work in the other school facilities and then the two groups would switch. School days were lengthened to provide both platoons with adequate time in traditional and vocational work.
The Gary Plan attracted nationwide attention and was adopted in other cities in the country. Proponents praised it for its emphasis on "learning by doing" and for expanding the functions of the school to meet social and community needs. Others opposed the plan and questioned whether too much academic work was sacrificed. When school officials attempted to introduce it in New York's public schools around 1914, many students, parents, and teachers protested against it. The Gary Plan lost its popularity soon after, but as documented in Burris's 1914 report, it had "attracted the attention of educators, and teachers and school officials [had] come from all parts of this country and from abroad to study [the Gary public schools]."
 "Gary in the Van of Progress," Gary Daily Tribune, November 1, 1911, 2; "Froebel School Will Give Four Nights in Week," Gary Evening Post, June 7, 1913, 1; "Gary School System," Indianapolis News, August 11, 1914, 6; "Froebel Evening School Growing in Great Strides," Gary Daily Tribune, October 26, 1914, 6; Burris, The Public School System of Gary, Ind., 1914, 11, 27, 40; "Vocational Study Gains at Froebel," Gary Post-Tribune, September 6, 1939, 16. See also Cohen and Mohl, The Paradox of Progressive Education, 84-122; and Cohen, Children of the Mill.
Located in the heart of Gary's immigrant community, Froebel was considered the great "melting pot" of the city. As early as November 1911, a Gary Daily Tribune article reported that it would serve as "an important factor in Americanization" of the foreign-born residing on the south side of the city. Cohen and Mohl repeated these sentiments decades later, stating that "Froebel School, especially, was conceived of as an indispensable agency for immigrant assimilation. . ." Enrollment included a high percentage of foreign-born students in all grades, K-12. Froebel also served as a social and recreational center and opened its doors to the community. Articles in the Gary Evening Post and Gary Daily Tribune in 1913 and 1914 described evening classes at the school that included adults of many different nationalities.
 "Negro Children Attend Froebel," Gary Daily Tribune, May 22, 1912, 6; "With Gary's Colored People," Gary Daily Tribune, September 19, 1914, 6; "Gary Night Classes and Colored Pupils," Indianapolis News, November 28, 1914, 22; Burris,The Public School System of Gary, Ind., 1914, 40; National Urban League, A Study of the Social and Economic Conditions of the Negro Population of Gary, Indiana, December 1944; U.S. Office of Community War Services, Gary, Indiana, Report on Racial Situation, February 14, 1944, accessed ISL Manuscripts; Elizabeth Lytle, "The Model Schools of Indiana," The Crisis (January 1917): 121; Betten and Mohl, "The Evolution of Racism in an Industrial City, 1906-1940;" Lane, James B., City of the Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), 232-235; Cohen and Mohl, The Paradox of Progressive Education; "Former Students Remember Froebel School," [Gary] Post-Tribune, October 10, 2004, A4; "Crusading Crooner," [Gary] Post-Tribune, April 17, 2005, B1.
Racial discrimination was prevalent in Gary's public schools from the city's earliest years. Segregated residential patterns often led to separate schools for black students in many cities. These school buildings often lacked the amenities present in all-white schools and were overcrowded. With Froebel set to open in 1912, Gary school officials recognized that black students should not be denied the opportunities available to white students at the new school. As such, Superintendent Wirt recommended establishing two separate rooms at Froebel for black schoolchildren. The Gary Daily Tribune described the plan on May 22, 1912, stating that black students would be allowed to attend Froebel and take advantage of many of its accommodations, but that "they [would] be segregated from whites at all times. . ." By 1914, a report published by the United States Bureau of Education indicated that there were approximately seventy black students attending the school, but "the other patrons of the school, most of whom are foreigners, strenuously object to mixing colored children with the others; so they are placed in separate classes in charge of two colored teachers. . ."
Froebel remained Gary's showcase "integrated" school into the 1940s. Black students who did not attend Froebel continued to be housed in segregated buildings, with only a few others attending all-white schools. When black students were transferred to Emerson School in 1927 to help deal with problems of overcrowding at one of the all-blacks schools, white students there went on strike protesting any attempt to integrate. The black students were transferred out, and in the 1930s, a new all-black high school was erected.
According to a 1944 study, by that year, approximately forty percent of the student body at Froebel was black, and it remained the only high school that was racially mixed. Despite "integration," the school remained internally segregated. The study stated that Froebel's black students were "welcomed as athletes, but not as participants in cultural and social affairs." They reportedly could not use the swimming pools on the same days as white students, were barred from the band, and were discriminated against in other extracurricular activities. In an April 2005 [Gary] Post-Tribune article, alumni of Froebel reflected on conditions at the former school in the 1940s and stated that white and black students attended separate clubs, proms, and dances.
Conditions at Froebel improved slightly throughout the 1940s, due in part to Principal Richard Nuzum. According to historian James Lane, after Nuzum became principal in 1942, he worked to remove some of the segregation policies within the school. Nuzum reportedly created a biracial Parent-Teachers' Association and "made it easier for blacks to enroll in academic courses, integrated the student council and the boys' swimming pool, and enabled blacks to try out for the orchestra." Still, despite these efforts, discrimination continued. See footnotes 8 and 10 for further information.
 Arthur E. Wohlers, A Plan for Housing Gary's Public Education Program: Gary, Indiana (Columbus, Ohio: Educational Administration and Facilities Division, Bureau of Educational Research and Service, College of Education, Ohio State University, 1962), 34, 37; "Make Coaching Assignments for new Gary School," Valparaiso Vidette Messenger, July 31, 1968, 13, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; "Gary's Exciting West Side Story," March 23, 1969, Hammond Times, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; "School Vacation Ends Wednesday," [Gary] Post-Tribune, September 7, 1976, B1; "School Closings Decision Due," [Gary] Post-Tribune, February 28, 1977, 1; "It's That Time Again - School Days," [Gary] Post-Tribune, September 8, 1977, C1; Elizabeth Balanoff, "The Gary School Crisis of the 1950s: A Personal Memoir," Indiana Magazine of History (March 1987): 65-73; "A Rotting Relic," [Gary] Post-Tribune, July 8, 2002, A1; "Froebel Demolition Coming Soon," [Gary] Post-Tribune, January 30, 2003, A6; "Farewell, Froebel," [Gary] Post-Tribune, October 10, 2004, A1, A4-A5; "Board Puts Froebel Before Wrecking Ball," [Gary] Post-Tribune, March 9, 2005, A1; "Froebel Era Tumbles Down," [Gary] Post-Tribune, May 7, 2005, A1, A5; "Now Gone from City's Landscape, Froebel Leaves Lasting Impression," [Gary] Post-Tribune, February 5, 2006, B3.
Froebel closed its doors in 1977. Originally opened as a K-12 school in 1912, it enrolled students in all grades into the late 1950s, according to Elizabeth Balanoff's "The Gary School Crisis of the 1950s." A 1962 study of the Gary schools reported that by the 1961-1962 school year, Froebel only housed students in grades 5-12. More changes came at the end of the decade. With the opening of West Side High School in Gary in 1968, Tolleston, Edison, and Froebel High Schools were all phased out of operation, and Froebel was made a middle school in 1969. By September 1976, declining enrollment in the city's schools caused Superintendent Gordon L. McAndrew to recommend closing some of Gary's buildings to help cut costs. These buildings included Froebel, Lincoln, and Miller schools. Despite resistance from some members of the Gary school board, the [Gary] Post-Tribune reported on March 1, 1977, that the board voted 3-1 in favor of closing the three buildings at the end of the academic year. Froebel students would move to Pulaski, Tolleston, and Beckman schools. Throughout the spring and early summer, city councilmen and members of the community protested the school board's decision. By June 4, 1977, the [Gary] Post-Tribune reported that a group of six parents and seven lawyers had filed a lawsuit in Lake Superior Court to prevent the closings. Newspaper articles covered the lawsuit throughout the month, but in the end, the school board's decision to close the schools won out. When the new school year opened in September 1977, the [Gary] Post-Tribune included a picture of the closed Froebel school. The caption read: "Froebel stands lonely and abandoned."
Froebel remained vacant following its closing in 1977 and fell into a dilapidated condition by the 1990s. A July 8, 2002 [Gary] Post-Tribune article described the building as "a rotting relic" and from 2003-2005, the paper discussed plans to demolish the former school. Despite local efforts to preserve the building, the school board approved a contract for its demolition in March 2005 and workers began tearing it down in early May of that year.
 "Gary Has its Strike, Too; Pupils Quit," Gary Post-Tribune, September 18, 1945; "Gary Schools' Strike Widens to Tolleston," Gary Post-Tribune, September 20, 1945, 1-3; "Board Orders Students Back," Gary Post-Tribune, September 21, 1945, 1; "Students Trek Back to Desks," Gary Post-Tribune, September 25, 1945, 1; "School Board Holds Firm at 5-Hour Parley," Gary Post-Tribune, September 26, 1945, 1; "Students Resume Strike at Froebel School at Gary," Indianapolis Star, September 27, 1945, 4; "End Strike at Froebel; Kyle is Made Dean," Gary Post-Tribune, October 1, 1945, 1; "Hate Strikers Seek Gary School Principal's Scalp," Indianapolis Recorder, October 20, 1945, 1-2; "Report of Technical Advisers to the Special Investigating Committee Appointed by the Gary Board of Education," October 21, 1945, submitted by applicant; "Froebel Group Acts to Resume Strike," Gary Post-Tribune, October 26, 1945, 1; "Frank Sinatra in Gary," Life Magazine, November 12, 1945, submitted by applicant; "Pupils' Strike Ended," New York Times, November 12, 1945, 23, accessed ProQuest; "Pupils Return to Classes at Malan's Plea," Gary Post-Tribune, November 12, 1945, 1. For more information see the Gary Post-Tribune, September 18-November 12, 1945; and Rebecca Vaughn, "Froebel Strike," Steel Shavings, vol. 14, 1988, 9, accessed ISL.
On September 18, 1945, the Gary Post-Tribune reported that "a nationwide strike consciousness manifested itself in Gary this morning as white grade and high school pupils of Froebel school walked out of classes in a protest against Negro pupils in that institution." According to the article, the striking students "urged that Froebel be reserved for whites only." The Gary Post-Tribune, Gary American, and the Indianapolis Recorder covered the strike(s) extensively throughout the fall. By September 20, it had spread to Tolleston School. Froebel's striking students' demands included: removing all black students from Froebel (they numbered over 800); ousting Principal Richard Nuzum, whom they believed gave preferential treatment to black students; and that school officials stop using Froebel students as "guinea pigs" in race relation experiments (according to a 1944 study of Gary's black population, Froebel was the only high school in Gary with a racially mixed attendance at the time; see footnote 6 for more information).
The Gary school board met September 25 to discuss the incident, and when they rejected the strikers' demands, the strike continued. Articles in the Gary Post-Tribune on September 25 and 26 estimated the number of striking students as high as 1,400. By October 1, the strike ended and students returned to classes after the school board agreed to an investigation into the charges against Principal Nuzum. The board appointed a special investigating committee and Nuzum was temporarily relieved of his duties as principal. By October 21, the investigation came to a close and a report regarding conditions at Froebel was issued. Nuzum was exonerated and returned as principal and the report called for the school to return to the status it had before the strike. Angered by these results, students went on strike again on October 29. On November 1, Anselm Forum (a Gary-based community organization dedicated to social harmony) helped bring Frank Sinatra to the school to sing and talk with the students about racial tension in an effort to end the strike. The strike continued after his departure. Students finally returned to classes on November 12 when State Superintendent of Public Instruction Clement T. Malan agreed to study conditions at Froebel. The Gary Post-Tribune and New York Times reported on the end of the strike and stated that normal conditions were being restored at the school. See footnote 9 for further information.
 "Gary Schools' Strike Widens to Tolleston," Gary Post-Tribune, September 20, 1945, 1-3; "Negro School Children in Nort[h]ern Communities," Gary American, September 21, 1945, 4; "Facts About the School Strike," Gary Post-Tribune, September 26, 1945, 1; "The Gary School Strike," Indianapolis Recorder, September 29, 1945, sec. 2, p. 2; "Principal of Froebel Penalized for Stand," Indianapolis Recorder, October 6, 1945, 1, 3; "The Froebel Report," Gary Post-Tribune, October 25, 1945, 18; "NAACP Staff Member Probes School Strikes," October 4, 1945, in Randolph Boehm, Papers of the NAACP, Part 3: The Campaign for Education Equality, 1913-1950, microfilm, reel 17 of 19, Series B; "School Strikes in Gary, Chicago and New York," in Papers of the NAACP; "Third Strike of Students Looms at Froebel High," Valparaiso Vidette-Messenger, February 25, 1946, 1, accessed NewspaperArchive.com; "Strike Leaders Join Move for Settlement," Indianapolis Recorder, March 9, 1946, 1.
The Froebel strikes gained national attention as similar strikes erupted in Chicago and New York. An October 6, 1945 Indianapolis Recorder article stated "the situation in the Gary schools has been an unfortunate source of infection." NAACP records reported that "in all three instances the strikes broke out in areas where there is a heavy concentration of foreign-born." Many believed that the incidents were representative of rising tension among immigrant groups due to increases in the black population in Gary and in the North in general. A September 26, 1945 Gary Post-Tribune article made this point clear when it stated "fundamentally this is not a school problem. It has developed out of the changing population in the Froebel area. . . As a result of this influx of Negro families some white property owners feel their homes and churches have depreciated in value."
Opponents of the Froebel strike included the Gary school board, Superintendent Charles D. Lutz, Gary Mayor Joseph Finerty, the Froebel PTA, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Anselm Forum, NAACP, CIO United Steel Workers Union, and the Gary Council of Churches, among others. Many blamed parents of the striking students for the racial tension existent in the school, stating that racial hatred was not inherent, but learned at home. Further, they used the recent war [WWII] in their arguments condemning the strike. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance issued an appeal to Gary's citizens during the strike. Published in the Gary Post-Tribune September 20, 1945, it stated "it is indeed regrettable to note that after the nation has spent approximately 190 billion dollars, the colored citizens of Gary have sent about 4,000 of their sons, brothers, and husbands to battlefields around the world and have supported every war effort. . . to destroy Nazism. . . to find in our midst those who are endeavoring to spread disunity, race-hatred, and Hitlerism in our community." The appeal concluded by stating that the strike "defeats the whole purpose for which the war was fought." Black newspapers such as the Gary American and Indianapolis Recorder issued similar articles, referring to the incident as a "hate strike" and a "Nazi-like outbreak of race hatred."
Racial tension continued even after the strikes ended in November 1945. By the spring of 1946, students at Froebel threatened to go on strike again, but were stopped by the Gary school board and Froebel student council. Newspapers reported that the leaders of the previous strikes, in union with Froebel's black students, issued an anti-strike statement in March 1946. In this statement, they encouraged the Gary school board to issue a policy to end discrimination in all of Gary's public schools.
 "Adopt New School Boundary Policy," Gary Post-Tribune, August 28, 1946, 1; "Adopts New Policy to End Discrimination," Indianapolis Recorder, September 7, 1946, sec. 1, p. 1-2; "Gary School Board Shows the Way," Indianapolis Recorder, September 7, 1946, sec. 2, p. 2; "School Board Adopts 'No Pupil Bias' Plan in City of Gary," Indianapolis Recorder, June 21, 1947, sec. 2, p. 1; "All But One of Gary's Schools Greet Change," Indianapolis Recorder, September 6, 1947, sec. 1, p. 1-2; "Gary Battles for Democracy," Indianapolis Recorder, September 13, 1947, sec. 1, p. 10; "Gary Schools and Lutz Get Racial Award," Gary Post-Tribune, February 21, 1948, 1,3; Ronald D. Cohen, "The Dilemma of School Integration in the North: Gary, Indiana, 1945-1960," Indiana Magazine of History (June 1986): 161-184.
Due in large part to the "hate strikes" at Froebel, the Gary Board of Education adopted a policy on August 27, 1946, to end segregation and discrimination in the city's public schools. Scheduled to go into full effect by September 1, 1947, the policy read:
"Children under the jurisdiction of the Gary public schools shall not be discriminated against in the school districts in which they live, or within the school which they attend, because of race, color or religion."
In accordance with the policy, Gary's public schoolchildren would attend the school nearest them and would be given equal opportunity "in the classroom and in all other school activities." According to Cohen, the decision made Gary "one of the first northern cities to officially integrate its schools." Both the Gary Post-Tribune and the Indianapolis Recorder attributed the adoption of the policy to the 1945 Froebel strikes. The Recorder praised the school board's action and in articles published September 7, 1946, it called the decision a "history-making move to eradicate racial strife among young people." Further, the paper described how Gary should serve as an example to other cities, namely Indianapolis, which it hoped would integrate its schools before racial agitators went on strike there as they had in Gary. In honor of the school board's action, Eleanor Roosevelt presented Charles D. Lutz, Gary Superintendent of Schools, with a citation from the Bureau of Intercultural Education on February 20, 1948, praising the Gary public schools for their work in breaking down discrimination.
Despite the adoption of the policy, discrimination in the Gary public school system did not disappear. According to the Indianapolis Recorder, when the new school year began in September 1947, students at Emerson went on strike to protest the enrollment of black students who were assigned to the formerly all-white school. School authorities took a firm stand against the "hate strike," but the incident underscored the racial tension present in the community. Because of segregated residential patterns, few black students transferred to previously all-white institutions. The 1950s saw a resurgence in de facto segregation in the city as the black population there continued to grow and fill already overcrowded black schools.
For more information on segregation in Gary's public schools in the 1950s and 1960s, see Ronald D. Cohen, "The Dilemma of School Integration in the North: Gary, Indiana, 1945-1960," Indiana Magazine of History (June 1986): 161-184; and Emma Lou Thornbrough, Indiana Blacks in the Twentieth Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000).
 "Fair Schools Bill is Sent to Schricker," Indianapolis Recorder, March 5, 1949, 1, 8; Indiana House Journal, 1949, 628-629, accessed ISL Manuscripts; Indiana Senate Journal, 1949, 813-814, accessed ISL Manuscripts; Indiana Laws, 1949, 603-607, accessed ISL Manuscripts; Justin E. Walsh, Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly, 1816-1978, 1987, 577; "1949 Indiana School Desegregation Law," accessed Indiana Historical Society Digital Image Collections; Dwight W. Culver, "Racial Desegregation in Education in Indiana," Journal of Negro History (Summer 1954): 296-302.
In 1949, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law to abolish segregation in the state's public schools. House Bill No. 242 passed the Indiana House of Representatives by a 58-21 vote and the Indiana Senate by a 31-5 vote. In accordance with the law, no new segregated schools would be built in Indiana. Further, the law required that schools discontinue enrollment on the basis of race, creed, or color of students entering public kindergartens, first grades of elementary schools, and first year departments of senior high or junior high schools by the September, 1949 school year. Implementation of the law could be delayed until 1950 for first year enrollments in elementary schools, 1951 for junior high schools, and 1954 for high schools if equipment and facilities were not adequate to accommodate the influx of students. The act also prohibited discrimination in hiring and upgrading teachers on the basis of race, creed, or color.