Documentary by two student filmmakers tells the tale of Poly's peaceful integration -- two years before Brown v. Board of Education (Baltimore)

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Blazing a Trail Before Brown is a documentary in the works by seniors at Polytechnic Institute. The 10-minute film tells the story of the pioneering integration of their own school, developed primarily through interviews with people who experienced it.

Although many Baltimoreans already know this groundbreaking local history, it also has significance nationally. When Poly admitted black students in September 1952, it was among the first - possibly the first - public high school south of the Mason-Dixon line to integrate its student body.

"We know we were the first in the state," Tolson says. "When I contacted the Library of Congress, they had no knowledge of any schools integrating before we did in 1952. But they also gave me a hint to check Brownsville, Texas." (He did, but it's unclear exactly what date integration might have taken place there.)

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