Gary, Indiana: The Class of 1925. Oblong. Item #018579
Later called the Emersonian, it is incorrectly reported in most sources that 1925 was the last year when Emerson High School remained an all-white school. As this yearbook shows, however, there was one black student, Frances Anderson (p. 46), who came in 1922 from Matton, Illinois. The editors of the yearbook report they are glad she had moved to Gary, and noted her skill in elocution including the Lake County Declamation Contest, as well as her membership in the Chemistry, French, and Classical Clubs. Interestingly, the yearbook notes she was at the contest but the page devoted to the Declamation Club notes thirty-two names though not hers yet she was noted as an outstanding elocutionist. She also is not found in the pictures of the three clubs to which she belonged. This suggests at the minimum that she was excluded either by a powerful clique or perhaps by the faculty themselves.. The next year there was an attempt to bring six more black students into the school and much of the white community rebelled over 1,300 students, parents, and other protesters stood in front of Emerson School, refusing to go back until it was returned to "all white" status. The Klan which was very powerful in Indiana led strength to their numbers. (In 1925 over half of the elected members of the Indiana General Assembly as well as the Governor were Klan members). To resolve the problem, the black students were sent to the then new Theodore Roosevelt High School. This segregation policy existed until 1945 when Frank Sinatra used his appearance there to condemn the situation though it took until 1948 before the walls of integration were torn down. Signed by dozens of students though not hers. Bound in stiff black paper wraps with some tiny chips and rubs.