Skip to content


Who had the power to get an equal education?

In 1871, Martha and Henry Crow wanted their children to get as much education as possible.

Bloomington Board of Education

Bloomington’s Board of Education segregated Bloomington’s public schools soon after they were established in 1857. White children attended the better schools while black children were provided with a lower level of education.


Emancipated African Americans

Emancipated African Americans, Henry Crow and his wife Martha made their way to Bloomington from Kentucky in the early 1850s. When their children began school in the 1860s, they were required to attend the segregated School No.3, located 14 blocks from their home, even though they lived less than a block away from School No. 5.

Who had the power?

Petition for Admission

In 1871 Henry Crow petitioned Bloomington’s Board of Education to admit his children to School No. 5.

Because of their ages at the time, it is possible that Crow’s children had completed the curriculum offered at No. 3, and that he made his petition at that time because he wanted his children to further their education. 

If allowed to attend School No. 5, they could have taken more advanced classes.

Brand new in 1870, School No. 5 offered more advanced classes than schools in lower income neighborhoods, where children were not expected to progress past grade school.

“Colored” School No. 3, was located on South Water Street (now Jackson Street) was also brand new in 1870. The expectations for students who attended this school were considerably lower than they were for children attending School No. 5. In addition classes were only offered through 8th grade.

Though they lived less than one block from School No.5, Martha and Henry Crow’s children were required to attend the “colored” School No. 3 (at the southern end of the map). On their way to their assigned school, the Crow children passed School No. 8.

Reflection Questions

What words here best describe why Crow's request was denied?

Previous: 1870 Next: 1874