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Penn Avenue School - 1928 Yearbook

Penn Avenue Quill Yearbook, 1928 Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Penn Avenue School, Cumberland - 1928 Yearbook

The 1928 Pennsylvania Avenue High School graduating class of 25 students was the first class to complete its education at the school. The opening page of the athletics section of their 1928 Yearbook, "The Quill", depicts an African-American leaping over a fence into an area identified by a sign as "Great Open Spaces," while two robed members of the Ku Klux Klan look on.

Also within the yearbook, under the Joke section, the following appears:

Question: "What's the best color for a bride?"
Answer: "Well, I prefer a white one."

By the 1920s the KKK was at its strongest point in history, over 2 million members. Cumberland was also caught up in the KKK fervor which had swept the nation. Over 1000 Klansman from Cumberland went by a special train to Washington D.C. in 1925 for a national Klan rally. Hundreds more from this area went by automobile and bus. A "branch office" of the Klan was officially established in Cumberland during the summer of 1921. Three hundred to 500 men participated in one of the first Klan initiations in Cumberland. The local KKK chapter was officially titled, "Fort Cumberland Klan No. 37, Ku Klux Klan." The total number of the Fort Cumberland Klan was 3200 members, 1800 of which were from the City of Cumberland. They held a big parade in downtown Cumberland on May 17, 1924.


Penn Ave School students

The Penn Avenue School, located in South Cumberland, was constructed in 1909. The original school consisted of only eight classrooms and served elementary school children. Additions were soon made and in 1925 the first two years of high school were started. By 1928 there were 23 faculty members and about 740 students. In 1936, the Pennsylvania Avenue School graduated its largest class of 108 students. It was also in June of that year the high school closed with the Fall opening of the recently completed Fort Hill High School. The school then reverted to an elementary school and was used as such until 1979 when a new South Penn Elementary school was constructed.


Collection Location:
South Cumberland Library

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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