York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

In late-1940s York, Pa., Jim Crow swam here

York’s Citizen’s Committee to open the Municipal Swimming Pool placed an advertisement to draw attention to a meeting after the city closed the pool in the late 1940s rather than allow blacks entry there. Background posts: Cartoonist made York newspaper owner’s views an art form and York Town Square reader: ‘I never knew about the White Rose Amusement Park’ and Reader searching for Boys Club Pool photo.
The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission is investigating the case of a private club outside Philadelphia that allegedly revoked an agreement to allow minority campers from the Creative Steps Inc. group to swim in its pool.
About a week ago, young minority campers from Creative Steps went to a Philadelphia-area pool to swim.
Patrons of the Valley Club made racial remarks and removed their own children from the pool, the camp’s executive director told USA Today.

That has created a controversy, and rightfully so… .

York Gazette and Daily cartoonist Walt Partymiller shows a derailed Freedom Train. The train, carrying America’s documents of liberty, stopped in York as part of a national tour in 1948. The newspaper contrasted the ideals of the documents with
acts of racial discrimination in York involving the city-run pool and also an incident in which a local restaurant refused to serve a black veteran.

The Associated Press reported that about two dozen people, most of them white, protested the club’s alleged action. They chanted “Jim Crow swims here!” among other slogans.
This brings to mind a time in the late 1940s when York City Council took a similar misguided step. They closed the city-run pool at Farquhar Park rather than allow blacks the opportunity to swim there.
The matter was resolved when the Boys Club took over operation of the pool, and those of all races were allowed to swim there.
That remains so today, too, at the pool’s replacement, known as the Graham Aquatic Center.
One would like to think an incident such as happened at the suburban Philadelphia club would not occur if a similar squad of minority campers arrived to swim in the private pools in suburban York.

This scene from the 1990s at the Farquhar Park pool is also a common sight today at its successor – the Graham Aquatic Center.