Don Speed Smith Goodloe is the first African American Meadville graduate.
By the early 1920s, Don Speed Smith Goodloe had accomplished many of his life’s professional goals. During his eleven-year tenure in Bowie, he established a faculty of ten members, student enrollment of 80, an admission requirement of completion of seventh grade, the model elementary school for student teachers at Horsepen Hill School– the first school for black children in Bowie–a summer session, a new dormitory for women, and renovation of living quarters for men. He added one additional year to the course, which led to a second-grade certificate and permitted students to do two years additional work to earn a first-grade certificate.
Goodloe made many pleas for additional funding before the legislature in Annapolis–money that might have brought more rapid development to the school–but the state’s appropriations favored the white normal schools. Little is known about why Goodloe resigned his post in 1921 at the age of 43. He told a friend that he stepped down because he was simply tired of being principal. It is possible that he was weary of the struggle to find sufficient funding that would enable him to upgrade the curriculum to the standards used at Maryland’s white normal schools in Towson and Frostburg. It was also quite likely that he was tired of dealing with racism and segregation and the inequality of the times and wished to immerse himself in the black community. The Ku Klux Klan was reviving in the South and across Middle America. There were 64 lynching's in 1918 and an astounding 83 the following year. There were at least fourteen blacks hanged by mobs in Maryland in the 20 years before Goodloe arrived and two during his tenure at Bowie.
Perhaps Goodloe simply gave up on Booker T. Washington’s dream of gaining equality with whites through hard work, patience, and acceptance of the prevailing social order. It is possible that he had come to accept the call of the more militant W.E.B. Dubois to reject a legal, political, and economic system that thrived on the exploitation of poor African Americans.
After leaving the school, Goodloe moved to Baltimore, where in 1923 he became president of an insurance company, the Standard Benefit Society. He grew prosperous enough to purchase rental housing in the city. Later, he moved to Washington, and it is reported that he owned extensive property in the District. Meanwhile, Fannie and the children continued to live in the house in Bowie. Wallis and Donald both graduated from Howard University, became teachers in Baltimore, and later in Washington. Donald B. Goodloe taught at Washington’s Dunbar High School; one of his former students, William C. Byers, is currently a member of the Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Although there is no record of Goodloe’s religious affiliation after Meadville, his religious leanings did have an effect on his children. One of his sons, Donald B. Goodloe, was an active member at All-Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington.
Don Speed Smith Goodloe died in Washington, D.C. in 1959 at the age of 81. His legacy lives on in Bowie. Goodloe’s enormous contributions to the building of Bowie State University will not be forgotten, and members of Goodloe Memorial Unitarian Universalist Congregation will remember him as one of the early Bowie pioneers.
Goodloe’s life as an educator remains forever consistent with the Unitarian Universalist principles that espouse a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are
—From UU Sankofa slides, by Dick and Barbara Morris, January 2005