By Gay Caroline
The Riverside School Board was presented with a petition signed by Eastside residents calling for an end to segregation in our elementary schools. That same evening, Lowell Elementary School went up in flames. The year was 1965.
The dividing line between Eastside and downtown were the Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroad tracks. North of us, beginning at 9th Street, the population was primarily White.
Those of us who lived on the north side of the street attended Longfellow Elementary School which was on 7th and Eucalyptus Street. The children of families living on the south side of 10th Street attended Irving Elementary School located at 14th and High Streets. The third elementary school on school on our side of town was Lowell School located at Cridge and High Streets (Victoria Ave.) and was attended primarily by Whites.
Later another elementary school was added to our community which was a private Catholic School at the corner of Prospect Avenue and High Streets, Our Lady of Guadalupe. And we understood it was built so that the Mexican American Eastside population would not then attend St. Francis of Assisi at 13th and Lime Streets. I can remember schools boundaries changing as the Black community expanded across the lines drawn by the school district.
There was on High School, Riverside Polytechnic, which was attended by all high school age children. It was located on the site that is now Riverside Community College. Previously, there had been separate high schools for boys and girls.