Negotiating for Integration in Trenton Schools

Tom’s most outstanding contribution to Trenton’s civil rights struggle was in the fight for school integration. As a former art teacher and Trenton student, Tom had an inside understanding of the Trenton school system. He sought to aid the NAACP in expanding Trenton’s educational goals for both races. Tom encouraged his beloved school system to change with the times. “I helped with the art school expansion program and got it off the ground as an NAACP person,” he explains. When a white school official’s bias threatened to keep Trenton from the promise of full integration, Tom was a particularly effective mediator. He used his talent for communication and his passion for fairness to urge blacks and whites to unite. He pleaded with them to persevere with group discussions so that they could compromise for the benefit of all students. Tom was particularly determined to help the NAACP achieve integration in all Trenton Public Schools, not just Trenton High.