Remembering George Washington Carver Elementary, a black school district built in Ferndale

Today it's the township of royal oak recreation center, but 75 years ago it was Carver Elementary School.

"The sad part of this story is, this is a community that has its schools overcrowded and it decides to build a black school district to split into a black school district and a white school district," said Sandra Clark of the Michigan Historical Society.

George Washington Carver Elementary was part of the black school district built in 1945 in Ferndale. There was a large influx of African Americans in Detroit, drawn the area by the lure automotive factory jobs.

There just wasn't enough room for everyone.

"This is an example of that separation coming at a time when there was pressure on the school system, too many kids but your solution is to segregate your schools," said Clark.

The Carver School District lasted 15 years before Governor Mennen Williams forced a merger between the Carver and Oak Park Districts in 1960.

"When they begin to not have enough money to support their high school and Governor Williams merge the two school districts back together," said Clark.

Carver Elementary School was awarded a historical marker in 1996 as a reminder of how the "separate but equal" policy institutionalized segregation.

"It's not that there wasn't racism and then there was, there was always racism," Clark said. "We talk about the north and the south and we blame the south for slavery, and therefore for racism in this country and we make a big mistake when we do that."