"Girard College Admits Oriental, Reporters Hardly Notice Him," 1968.
The first non-white student to physically enter Girard College Wednesday was not a Negro.
While the local and national press concentrated their attention on four Negro boys and headlined them as "the first,"" a nine year old Mongolian lad quietly registered without any fanfare.
The boy, Buddha Ragcha Dalantinov of 4859 n. 9th st., fourth grader, is a Kalmuck. The Kalmucks are descendants of the Mongol Hordes who overran Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. They consider themselves white. The Dalantinovs" got a rude awakening when Buddha's application to the school was originally turned down because Girard College decided he was not quite white enough for admission. Officials reached the decision after studying racial standards as determined by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The May Supreme Court ruling not to reverse a lower court decision to integrate the school also opened the gates to Buddha as well as his more celebrated classmates Theodore Hicks, 9, William L. Dade, 11, Carl W. Riley, 8, and Owen Gowans, 7.
Two of the youngsters, Theodore Hicks and William Dade, came to school ready to combat any possible dull moments. Hicks carried a chessboard under his arm. William brought a Monopoly and Stratego game to while away his hours.
William, a very self-assured young man, was accompanied by his mother, Mrs. Fletter Dade and his 13-year-old sister, also named Fletter. Miss Dade has been admitted, through the aid of Girard president Dr. Carl Friedmann, to the Charles Ellis Girls School in Newtown Square. She also will be a pioneer, the first Negro girl to study there.
While the press and school officials surrounded the four boys and their families, a small group of about 20 Negroes looked on quietly from outside watching the end of a long and often bitter battle to get Negroes admitted.
Mrs. Lily Riley, mother of one of the boys, said she was "thrilled."
"I never thought I would live to see it. I used to pass these walls and wonder."
The high walls surrounding the school, ‘protecting" it from the sprawling Negro community on all sides, were considered an affront by community leaders. It infuriated the picketing activists who demanded an end to segregations there.
The wall still stands, but it is no longer sufficient to keep Negroes and other non-whites out.
Credit: "Girard Col. Admits Oriental, Reporters Hardly Notice Him," Philadelphia Tribune, September 14, 1968.