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Bates HS, Center of Excellence

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The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation announces the creation and debut of the documentary film, Bates, Center of Excellence: Memories of Bates Teachers. This documentary was created by the Foundation as part of its ongoing effort to promote legacy endeavors in the city of Annapolis and throughout Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

The mission of the Foundation is to spread Alex Haley’s vision of a world that celebrates ethnic diversity through genealogy research, as well as through educational and cultural programs. The Memories of Bates Teachers documentary represents one of many efforts the Foundation has undertaken related to endeavors that acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of African Americans in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.

The documentary is based on the reflections and recounting of memories from interviews of 15 former teachers of Bates High School. It tells the story of Bates from the perspective of educators who had firsthand experiences in teaching at this secondary school prior to the integration of public schools in Anne Arundel County, Maryland in the mid-1960s.

During the long period of segregated schools in the County, Bates was historically significant. From its opening in 1933 to its closing 1966, Bates was the only high school for African Americans in the County. As the only secondary school for African Americans, it served students in grades 7-12. In addition to serving all secondary African American students in the city of Annapolis, students as far north as Brooklyn Park and as far south as Friendship went to Bates. The school operated with a massive transportation system since between 75 to 85 percent of the students were bussed. Consequently, given its large enrollment size, Bates operated with many different satellite or expansion sites throughout the downtown Annapolis area.

As the teachers explained in their interviews, “Bates was the hub for the African American community”. Moreover, “Bates was a powerhouse,” and the documentary film is supported through individual contributions to the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, as well as from grant funds provided from the city of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Cultural Arts, and the Four Rivers Heritage Area.

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