My family moved to Monrovia in 1946 (I was six), and settled in at 205 El Nido. That was our home until the sixties. My parents, Glen and Harriet Philpot (seen at right), were active in scouts and other youth activities and my father was a member of the Building Appeals Board for a number of years. The five Philpot children attended Immaculate Conception School and the oldest three went to MAD/MD High School. Since ICS was the only primary school in Monrovia that was not de facto segregated, we were introduced to "others" at early ages and were taught by our parents to treat all as equals. My father was the Boy Scout leader at ICS, Troop 147, from 1949 to 1954.He came about the job when he took my brother and me to a scout meeting and found no adults in attendance.
His next move was to go (uninvited) to the next Knights of Columbus meeting and introduce himself as the new scout leader...an interesting move on several levels, particularly since he wasn't a Catholic, although very active in school activities. Some resistance was encountered but overcome. More objections would have surfaced if the members had known that he would return home and instruct us to go to school and get some "black kids and Mexicans" to join the scouts... if they couldn't afford the fees for uniforms, etc., something would be worked out. We did, and with notable success. So, as far as we know, the first integrated Boy Scout Troop in Monrovia, and likely in the San Gabriel Valley, and perhaps in the greater metropolitan area, was established without note or fanfare or editorial comment.
That this was accomplished when the Municipal Plunge schedule was still a disgrace is, perhaps, remarkable, but the truth is that we didn't think much about it. However, it now looks like a true outlier and is a point of pride in our family. It's too bad that it took others so long to come around. Although I had a wonderful upbringing in Monrovia I always knew there was school and neighborhood segregation and a clear pecking order starting with Blacks at the bottom, followed by Mexicans, Jews and Catholics, with the righteous at the top! It's wonderful that things have changed.
Written by Richard Philpot
Raleigh, North Carolina