Albion Interactive History / People / Ethel Fowler

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People / Public Schools

Ethel Gildart Fowler
Principal Dalrymple Elementary


In 1919, Ethel Gildart Fowler became the principal at DalrympleSchool. A divorced woman who had the responsibility of supporting a child and invalid mother, her two years at Dalrymple were marked by two singular events: creation of the DalrympleParents Teacher Association, that was fought because of misgivings of teachers about parents invading the classroom.

The second issue concerned race relations. In 1920, a family by the name of Blackman moved to a house at 809 S. Dalrymple Street, south of the school. Mrs. Fowler held her belief that the children should be allowed to attend the school nearest them, instead of having to attend the all-black West Ward School several blocks further. The school boardsupported her view, and the same policy was extended to blacks living in the vicinity of Austin School. North of Dalrymple however, W. Erie Street formed the “colored” boundary for many years to come.

Fowler left her principalship to finish courses at Albion College, where she graduated in 1924. Superintendent Donald Harrington however, arranged to have Fowler teach an ungraded class at Dalrymple School, which consisted of children of European immigrants who knew little english. Fowler later became a teacher in theJackson West Intermediate District, driving daily from Albion to Jackson. She retired in 1945 after nearly fifty years as a teacher.

Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.

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