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“RIP Thank you for all you did for me as a young child. I will never forget you.Love Joaquin F Mendes (Junior) ”
1 of 2 | Posted by: Joaquin Mendes - Woods Hole, MA

“RIP Thank you for all you did for me as a young child. I will never forget you.Love Jr. ”
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Written by the Falmouth Enterprise Newspaper

Emma (Moore) Barrow of Falmouth, 90, died Sunday in Falmouth.
An educator for 50 years and a teacher and principal in Falmouth for 26 of those years, Mrs. Barrow was considered by many to be a pioneer in the Falmouth school system, and even after her retirement in 1985, she devoted her time to helping raise money for scholarships to help all students get the education they desired, regardless of ability to pay.
The Emma M. Barrow Scholarship Fund, which was established at her retirement, honored her lifelong passion to make education available to everyone.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama, she was raised by an aunt and uncle. She taught herself to read when she was a pre-schooler, and by the time she was 7, she was “playing school” with illiterate adults and teaching them to read.
Public education in Montgomery at that time only went through the ninth grade. In order to attend high school, Mrs. Barrow had to move, and so she did, to Birmingham, and lived with another uncle while attending high school.
But even with her high school diploma, college might have remained an unattainable goal. “Scholarship aid during the Depression years was almost unheard of. No money was available,” she said many years later.
With characteristic persistence, the young woman rode a bus to the office of the president of State Teachers Junior College in Birmingham.
Refusing to accept that there was no money available for scholarships, she returned to his office every day for a week until she was given a job in the college library. This job funded a year of studies, after which she got a job teaching in a one-room country school in Andalusia, Alabama, in an unpainted frame church building serving children in grades one through eight. She earned $37.50 a month. The year was 1935.
Wanting to further her own education, she developed her philosophy of “teach a while, go to school awhile.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Tuskegee Institute, and eventually, a master’s degree in education from Tufts University, all while pursuing a career in teaching and, eventually, as principal.
Many years later, she summed up her reasons for her continued work with raising money for scholarships. “There never was a time, in all the years, that I didn’t know young people who desperately wanted further study and who couldn’t possibly get it without a lot of financial help,”
she said in an interview in 1990. “Good times, bad times, one thing never changes: it’s always bad times if you need money for education that your family hasn’t got.”
She met Colonel Herbert A. Barrow while he was a professor of military science at Tuskegee. They were married in 1948 and were posted to Germany. Quickly becoming conversant in German, she was a guest teacher in English at German high schools in Stuttgart.
The couple lived in Europe until 1953, traveling to France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and Ireland. Returning to the US, they lived in Washington, DC, where she taught in public schools. In the summer of 1959, they visited Falmouth, where Colonel Barrow had spent many summers as a child. Her husband encouraged her to apply for a teaching position in Falmouth, and her June application was accepted in July, and with that, Mrs. Barrow became the first African-American teacher in Falmouth.
Her husband died in 1983.
She began teaching fourth grade at the Woods Hole School in 1959, and by 1963, she was named principal, a post she held for 18 years, until 1981, when students from the Woods Hole School were transferred to the Mullen-Hall School.
When Mrs. Barrow was not selected as principal of Morse Pond School in
1973 and again in 1975, she brought a suit against the Falmouth School Committee, charging discrimination on the basis of race, color, and sex.
Burton E. Newman was named principal in 1973; Howard L. Campbell was appointed principal in 1975.
In the fall of 1977, she was appointed principal of Mullen-Hall School, but the following spring, she again brought suit against the school system for monetary damages stemming from the first complaint. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination awarded Mrs. Barrow $19,000 in damages, determining she was discriminated against in 1973, although it found no discrimination in the 1975 complaint. The school board appealed the decision to the Superior Court, which in turn remanded the case back to the commission, and in June 1981, the complaint was dismissed. Five months later, Mrs. Barrow withdrew her appeal.
Several years later, Mrs. Barrow was a strong voice of support for the Falmouth School Committee when it was again facing charges of discrimination outlined in a report published by the Falmouth Racial Equality Committee in February 1986. The report was triggered by a class action law suit against school officials filed by two applicants who had not been hired as teachers.
In 1987, Mrs. Barrow wrote in a letter to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, “I have known numerous minorities, including my own family and friends, who have been highly successful in school programs. It is not the school that is restricting students from various activities…it is the students who choose not to become involved.”
Further, she wrote, “Screening the candidates was always done fairly and without prejudice. There was no exception this time.”
She had been a longtime, active member of the Falmouth Business and Professional Women’s Club, as corresponding secretary as well as serving on several committees. She particularly enjoyed her role on the world affairs program offered by the club.
The year she officially retired from academia, 1985, was one full of honors for Mrs. Barrow. In January of that year, the Massachusetts Teachers Association honored Mrs. Barrow with the 1985 Human Relations Award for “outstanding service in the field of education in human relations and civil rights.” Just three months later, then-governor Dukakis presented her with a certificate marking her 50 years in education, and she was named Woman of the Year by the Falmouth BPW.
But perhaps her greatest pleasure came

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