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Walter Sondheim interview


Walter Sondheim, Jr. (1908-2007) was a civil rights leader and President of the Baltimore Board of School Commissioners. He was heavily involved in the redevelopment of Baltimore’s downtown district, and he pushed for the desegregation of Baltimore City schools. In this oral history interview, Sondheim discusses his fight to eliminate discrimination in department stores and desegregate Baltimore City schools. He recalls acting as an unofficial intermediary between the department stores and Walter White, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He discusses his personal relationship with Theodore R. McKeldin, and offers his thoughts on McKeldin as both governor and mayor. Sondheim further discusses the competitiveness that arose between the NAACP and the Urban League, particularly with the handling of desegregation in Baltimore City schools.




Contributor(s) Notes

Narrator: Walter Sondheim, Jr
Interviewer: Ellen Paul

Production Note

The McKeldin-Jackson Project was an effort to examine the Maryland civil rights movement of the mid-20th century through the medium of oral history by focusing on the roles played by pioneering freedom fighter Lillie May Carroll Jackson and Theodore R. McKeldin, who was Mayor of Baltimore (1943-1947, 1963-1967), Governor of Maryland (1951-1959), and an advocate for civil rights. The project was sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society and was supported in part by a grant from the Maryland Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy.


Object ID

OH 8172


Audio: 57 minutes
Transcript: 27 pages

Catalog Number

OH 8172

Resource ID


Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital material is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.