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Kids Painting up a Storm

Source of image: Online Florida Photographic Collection

 Take a look at the box-like partition behind these kids: It wasn’t a time-out section for discipline, but a play area instead. It contained such toys as wagons and dollhouses, which entertained the students who behaved. Dating from 1952, this photo shows a segregated Jacksonville classroom.

 According to the Florida State Archives, the image comes from Oakland Grammar School #102, an African American institution located in Oakland, a neighborhood northwest of today’s Alltel Stadium. Actually, this identification is incorrect. As indicated by Marsha Rosier Phelts, the well-known Jacksonville historian, the picture was taken at an African American school in the Arlington area.

Marsha was the young girl stirring the paint. One of her masterpieces is tacked to the top of the partition, just below the flag. It depicts two palm trees and a boat, a scene that Marsha says that she enjoyed painting over, and over, and over…

Marsha’s aunt, Pearlie Cobb Scarborough, supervised the activities of these budding painters. Mrs. Scarborough was the young lady wearing the white dress in the right rear of the picture. She served as the teacher, and her husband built the play area. The picture was snapped during a summer school session, which explains the short sleeves and wide open windows. During the Fifties, Mrs. Scarborough kept quite busy with her summer classes, instructing at a variety of lower grade levels and also cooking for her pupils. She taught local elementary students for 37 years.

-written by Glenn Emery

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