The School District of Palm Beach County (PBCSD) named its West Palm Beach headquarters the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center in 1996. It was also the first time a public building in Palm Beach County (PBC) was named for a person of color. (Fulton refers to former District Superintendent Robert Fulton.
In 1956, William ‘Bill’ Holland took his six-year-old son to enroll at all-white Northboro Elementary in West Palm Beach, two years after the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that outlawed segregated schools. The son was turned away.
Mr. Holland—the county’s first black attorney and first black municipal judge—fought the matter for years, returning to court time and time again.
To comply with one ruling in 1961, for example, the PBCSD offered a plan that resulted in four black students transferring to all-white high schools. By 1965, only 137 of the county’s 15,000 minority students attended predominantly white schools. And by 1967, only Jupiter High School had achieved full desegregation, while all segregated black schools remained open.
On July 9, 1973, a U.S. District Court judge issued the final ruling in the Holland case and declared PBCSD to be officially integrated. The federal Office for Civil Rights, however, monitored the county’s schools until 1999—three years after the District named its headquarters for Bill Holland. Attorney Bill Holland.