Reverend LeRoy Patrick
came to Pittsburgh in 1951 as the new pastor of Bethesda Presbyterian Church
in the city's Homewood section.Unaware of the previous desegregation effort, Reverend Patrick
organized an interracial youth swim at the Highland Park Pool only to learn that the pool was for "whites only.""I didn't know we [African Americans] weren't allowed to swim in the pool.The more I thought about it, the more incensed I became," says Reverend Patrick
.After requesting police protection, Patrick
group into the Highland Park Pool where all the white swimmers got out.Despite verbal threats from whites, Reverend Patrick's
group left the pool without violence.
Allen and Reverend Patrick
went on to "test the waters" at other Pittsburgh pools including Corrigan Drive and Paulson
At Paulson Pool, Reverend Patrick
remembers, "they threw rocks at us."
...In addition to telling the story of desegregation, Testing the Waters is also a tribute to the lifetime achievements of Reverend LeRoy Patrick, a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission since 1980.
service as a commissioner from Pittsburgh, Dr. Patrick
has overseen many changes to the PHMC
including the establishment of a Black History Advisory Committee
, the annual Conference on Black History in Pennsylvania, and the publication of an anthology on Black Pennsylvania history and an archival guide to Black history
in the Pennsylvania State Archives.As commissioner, Dr. Patrick continues to support outreach to minorities in other PHMC programs such as the state historical marker program, the PHMC grants program, and the PHMC internship program.
urged the PHMC
to step up recruitment of African American staff and exhibits relating to black history at PHMC sites.