African American woman first to head school

    A celebrated orphanage founded back in 1848 for impoverished, fatherless white boys has installed its first African American female president. Girard College is the legacy of Philadelphia financier Stephen Girard. In the 1960’s, the school served as the site of a seminal civil rights battle for integration.

    A celebrated orphanage founded back in 1848 for impoverished, fatherless white boys has installed its first African American female president. Girard College is the legacy of Philadelphia financier Stephen Girard. In the 1960’s, the school served as the site of a seminal civil rights battle for integration.
    Caption: Girard College President Autumn Adkins

    Listen:
    [audio: 091016spgirard.mp3]

    At the Girard College Chapel on the 43-acre North Philadelphia campus, 600 students, grades 1-through-12 listened to their new President Autumn Adkins speak about education as a civil right.

    Adkins: This is now the civil rights struggle that I’m embarked on. And I know many of you here are embarked on and together we will bring this civil right to this generation.

    Girard College is now a boarding school for low-income children who are being raised by a single parent.

    Quadeera Jackson is a senior at the school.

    Jackson: This is actually very significant to me not only because she’s African American but also because she’s female. I see that as a very important thing in our society today. This is a building block for the different things that Girard College can accomplish and she clearly has an excellent vision for the school, very elaborate, very ambitious and I just love it.

    Jackson plans to become an oral surgeon.

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