The Forgotten Ones: New Jersey’s Locked-up Girls

Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian writes for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange:

Have you heard of the Bordentown School? Founded by the Rev. Walter Rice, Bordentown — officially named the New Jersey Industrial and Manual Training School for Colored Youth — was a co-ed public boarding school for black students, run by the state of New Jersey between 1886 and 1955. Dubbed the “Tuskegee of the North,” after Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, the exclusive school focused on preparing young black men and women to be future leaders, emphasizing vocational training in addition to academics.

That was until the Supreme Court’s seminal 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down segregation in public schools. Bordentown closed one year later.

And today, on a campus that once served as a pinnacle of black excellence and achievement, attracting visits from such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Paul Robeson, sits New Jersey’s only youth prison for girls — the Female Secure Care and Intake Facility.

Bordentown is, quite literally, the school-to-prison pipeline realized.

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