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The Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course: A Case Study of the National Civil Rights Campaign: 1923-1954.

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Presentation on theme: "The Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course: A Case Study of the National Civil Rights Campaign: 1923-1954."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course: A Case Study of the National Civil Rights Campaign: 1923-1954

2 Part of a Larger Study: The History of Racial and Ethnic Access Within Baltimores Carroll Park: 1870-1954. Defended June, 2006. In what ways has park access on the land that became Carroll Park been influenced by issues of race and ethnicity? –The Schuetzen Period: 1870-1886. –The Segregation Era: 1923-1954

3 Importance of Research Recent findings (Wolch et. al, 2005) indicate that Americas urban parks are still coming to terms with a past marked by segregation and racial violence. Reluctance to enter a park due to issues of race and ethnicity can have deep historical roots. Nevertheless, most modern research on urban parks focus solely on the present.

4 Introduction Where is Carroll Park?

5 The Origins of the Carroll Park Municipal Golf Course 1888: Death of Mary Ludlow Carroll, the last member of the family to own the Mount Clare property in its entirety. 1890-1907: City Park Board Purchases land east of Monroe Avenue from Carroll heirs and other landowners in order to serve residents of southwestern Baltimore. East of Monroe Street: Largely preserved green space near the Mount Clare Mansion. Designed as a mixed-use park by the Olmsted Firm and Carroll Park Superintendent, Charles Seybold. West of Monroe Street: Scarred industrial landscape from a history of brickyards, clay pits, and munitions factories. Fears that lack of park development would result in loss of park land to business. 10 Acres to Montgomery Ward, 1924. Charles Hook, 1923: Director of Parks and Recreation in Baltimore announces plans for a 65-acre golf course on the property. –Reasons for growing interest in the sport of golf.

6 Carroll Park, 1914.

7 Timeline: 1923-1936 1923: Carroll Park Golf Course opened on 35 acres west of Monroe Street. Predated only by Clifton Park. 1920s: All of Baltimores golf courses remained White Only, forcing Black players to travel to Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. Early 1930s: Monumental Golf Club of Baltimore challenged the policy of segregation in a campaign of protests and newspaper articles. –Leading Figures: Willie Adams, Dallas Nicholas, Bernard Harris. –Lack of direct ACLU Support. 1934: Amidst vehement White objections, African Americans given rights to play at Carroll Park every other day. 1936: Full course rights at Carroll Park given to African Americans. Whites barred from playing. Carroll Park was known as the citys worst golf course. It lacked a club house, contained only nine holes, no bunkers, and sand greens.

8 Baltimores Golf Courses, 1940

9 Timeline: 1936-1943 National Civil Rights Strategy: Do not directly attack segregation, but make whites pay to make separate facilities equal under the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1898. 1940: National Boxing Hero, Joe Louis, recommends that local activists fight to make Carroll Parks facilities equal. May, 1942: Using African American service in World War II as a pretext, Black golfers secure the right to play at all courses within Baltimore. June, 1942: Heavy protests from White neighborhoods (Not White golfers) force the Park Board to revoke its decision. July, 1942: An all white Jury determines that the facilities at Carroll Park are not equal. Judge Eugene ODunne restores the right of African Americans to play any course. December, 1942: Appeals Court overturns this decision on technical grounds (Judge ODunne had not been present for the jurys verdict). April, 1943: Compromise Reached: Carroll Park would be improved. Blacks could use all other courses in the meantime.

10 Timeline: 1943-1954 1945: Renovations to Carroll Park completed: Yardage increased, clubhouse improved, grass greens, and sand bunkers. African American golfers forced to return to Carroll Park. 1948: In a new lawsuit, Judge Chestnut ruled that nine holes could not be equal to eighteen. African Americans given rights to play all courses, though on alternating days. –Disagreement between Commissioners Harris and Boone. 1949: Gang battle between Whites and Blacks in Carroll Park, south of Mount Clare. One African American, 19-year old Linwood Matthews, killed. Park Board blamed for creating racial tension. 1951: Monumental Golf Club sues Park Board again. Total victory – all golf courses fully desegregated. 1953-1954: Lawsuit to desegregate Carroll Park swimming facilities. Brown v. Board (1954) settles the case prematurely. End of Separate but Equal 1957: Swimming Facilities at Carroll Park closed due to lack of use. Whites boycotted the pool, rather than allow their families to swim with Blacks.

11 IV. Conclusions Today, Carroll Park exists without any limitations in ethnic or racial access. Example of an urban green space in which the errors of the past have been corrected. Numbers on general park usage are unavailable, though golf course patrons are approximately 40% white and 60% black. In conjunction with other research projects (Korth, 2005), this thesis can help to understand how modern-day patterns of park access came to be, as well as how well the Olmsted Brothers plan of equal park access to all held up over the course of history.

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