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This week in history: Integration comes to Palm Beach County schools

On Sept. 11, 1961, the first two black students to enroll in a white public school began classes at Lake Worth High School, making Palm Beach County the fourth in the state to begin integration. Later that day, Palm Beach Junior college admitted its first black student. The Palm Beach Post declared that “integration came quietly and smoothly” to the schools.

Click on the image to browse the Sept. 12, 1961, Palm Beach Post.

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Posted in Black Palm Beach Blog and Flashback blog September 6, 2010 at 6:00 am.


3 Replies

  1. Christine Feb 16th 2011

    Hi, my grandparents wintered for several months a year in Palm Beach in the 1950′s and I spent several winter vacations there.

    I have several questions about the situation I knew about when I went and wonder if the things I am telling are true. I was an ardent fan of Harry Belafonte but was told that he was not allowed to stay on the island at night as “all black people had to be off the island at sunset.”. Is that true?

    Also, I remember a fabulous washboard band that used to play at Testas during that era and wonder if there are any links to it or recordings.

    Is there a timeline of when Palm Beach became integrated and what is the situation today? I live in the NW and have not been to Florida since 1960!!

    My sense is that in the mid 1950′s Palm Beach was totally segregated.

  2. Palm Beach Post Staff Researchers Feb 18th 2011

    I’m afraid I don’t have answers to all of your questions, and I haven’t come across a timeline of segregation and integration in Palm Beach, but we do have several articles about black history in Palm Beach County on HistoricPalmBeach.com here:


    You may be especially interested in these stories about the Sunset, a club where black musicians played from the 1920s to the 1950s:

    In the Historic Archive on Google News Archive you can find a few Palm Beach Post stories from the 1950s mentioning washboard bands, but I didn’t see Testa’s mentioned specifically. You cans see those stories at this link:

    Thanks for reading HistoricPalmBeach.com!

    Michelle Quigley
    News Researcher
    The Palm Beach Post | HistoricPalmBeach.com

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