By Milton Williams
E. Veronica Scott Pace was a ASALH Life member. I met Veronica 69 years ago (1949) as a student at Park View Elementary School, located in N.W. Washington D.C. The school had transitioned from a White Elementary School to a Black Elementary School because of neighborhood ethnic population changes. We later attended Banneker Junior High School. Dr. Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham’s father was the assistant principal. Charles Houston, one of the architects of the 1953 Brown vs Board of Education US Supreme Court lawsuit lived in her neighborhood. His wife was our English Teacher.
We where 2 of 500 black students to integrate Theodore Roosevelt High School located at 13th and Upshur Streets NW in the fall of 1955. This was the result of the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education, Topeka Kansas Supreme Court decision. Blacks made up 50% of the enrollment that year. Each year the black enrollment increased because of white students who moved during the summers to the suburbs. When we graduated in 1958, Blacks made up 90% of the graduating class.
There was no white-black student fraternization during the first year. The teachers would not call on Blacks to answer class questions. We where graded unfairly. I was given the silent treatment and was subject to a fight if I went into the boy’s bathroom alone. I did have a couple of fights during gym period. In my neighborhood, Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson were our idols. We expected to fight. We read and heard what was happening at Anacostia HS. We had only one black teacher, Mrs. Blackburn. Most of us had all white teachers. A lot of the students transferred to Dunbar High School.
She was a 1962 graduate of Howard University. Her achievements included becoming the Director of the D C Department of Aging. I last saw and photographed Veronica at the Associated For the Study of African American Life and History annual luncheon on February 16, 2019. (Photo attachment enclosed). She was loved by all who knew her, especially the seniors when and after her employment as the D. C. Director of the Office on Aging. Her legacy lives on. Veronica was a spokesperson for the RACE. She was a life long dear friend of mine.
E. Veronica Pace Home Going Service.
Canaan Baptist Church, 1600 Newton Street NW on Wednesday April 24, 2019, Viewing 9:30 am – 11:30 am, Service afterwards.
Funeral arrangements handled by McGuire Funeral Home.
Website program photos during her time as director of the DC Department of Aging.
Park View Elementary School History website.