Dr. Walter Gill

Dr. Walter Arthur Harris Gill was born in Greenville, Mississippi and attended public school in Baltimore; he was the first African American to graduate from Baltimore City College High School in 1955. After graduating from Morgan State College he received his MA and Ph.D. degrees from Syracuse University in educational communications. He was employed at Bowie State University, Morgan State University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he was recommended for tenure. Dr. Gill has spent 26 years with children as an art and social studies teacher, and counselor for at-risk youth and delinquent males in Maryland and nationally. He was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to serve on the Citizens Review Board for Children in Baltimore City. Dr. Gill is the author of Teaching in Urban America: A Formula for Change, Issues in African American Education and A Common Sense Guide to Non-traditional Urban Education.

Quotes from Dr. Gill:

“During prom week there were several social activities, one of which was at the Dixie Ballroom in the segregated Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. After some negotiation, it was stated that I could bring my date to the dance at the Dixie Ballroom but could not ride on the amusements like my fellow classmates. I decided to boycott the dance, probably the first boycott of Gwynn Oak by a Negro. My being the first to graduate and my boycott were reported in the Afro, June 11, 1955.”

“I was the only senior in 1954 (and therefore was the one and only African American graduate in 1955).There was a lot I didn’t say in the film. For example, going to Greenville, Mississippi most summers to visit my grandmother and riding in separate railroad cars after Washington, DC.; sitting in the balcony in movie theaters; coming back to Baltimore in 1955 and my friends thinking I had been killed because I had whistle at a while woman. My response was ‘No man, that was Emmitt Till, not Walter Gill.”


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