The Summer of Change: The Integration of Glen Echo Amusement Park

1 Posted by - August 16, 2018 - Black History, History, LATEST POSTS

Glen Echo Amusement Park in Montgomery County, Maryland was a popular location for several decades from the early 1900s to the 1960s. The amusement park was one of the largest establishments of its type in the Washington, D.C. area.

Like most public leisure facilities during this time, Glen Echo Park was restricted to whites only. For about 63 years out of the 70 years of its history, only whites enjoyed the facility.

On June 30, 1960, to draw attention to the continuing segregation, a group of college students (primarily from Howard University) staged a sit-in protest on the carousel.

Pickets also began June 30 and continued until the park closed in the fall. Many of the picketers faced harassment and counter-demonstrations by the American Nazi Party. The park’s security guards, also sworn deputy sheriffs of the county, also harassed the picketers. But the nearby community of Bannockburn rallied to the picketers side and helped maintain the line. They were joined by other activists and some elected officials during the summer.

Five black students were subsequently arrested for trespassing. The arrests were appealed to the Supreme Court four years later, and the convictions were reversed in Griffin v. Maryland on the grounds that the state had unconstitutionally used its police power to help a private business enforce its racial discrimination policy. This led to an eleven-week civil rights campaign against Park policies with students and residents of the nearby Bannockburn community joining together to demand change. As a result, the park opened its doors to all races for the 1961 season. The amusement park shut its doors permanently in 1968.




1 Comment

  • Tony Wassenaar April 15, 2019 - 7:05 pm Reply

    WOnderful job here.You know what?I like your writing style.I’m also a blogger and its so hard sometimes.My time will come but I know I’m on the right path.PS.I’m gonna have to share this post!

  • Leave a reply