AARON MOSSELL

Program
NYS Historic
Subject
People
Location
Market Street, Lockport, NY
Lat/Long
43.17658, -78.685253
Grant Recipient
History Center of Niagara
Historic Marker

AARON MOSSELL

Inscription

AARON MOSSELL
AND HIS SON CHARLES WERE
LOCAL RESIDENTS WHO ADVANCED
THE STRUGGLE TO INTEGRATE
LOCKPORT SCHOOLS. OPEN TO ALL
REGARDLESS OF RACE BY 1876.
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2018

Aaron Mossell, a Baltimore native and son of a freed slave, moved to Lockport in 1866 from Ontario, Canada. Mossell found work as a day laborer and eventually opened his own brickyard. He supplied bricks for the then-new, whites-only school built on the current site of John Pound Elementary School, across the street from his home. Segregation laws of the time required his children attend the farther away school for black children. Beginning in 1871, Mossell began pushing the Lockport School Board to desegregate. He was often joined by his eldest son, Charles, who had attended integrated schools in Hamilton. In 1872, the school board voted to allow all children to be educated under one roof, as the high school was already integrated. Unfortunately, public pressure forced the school board to rescind their vote. However by 1876 the movement led by the Mossells had succeeded and schools were open to all.