School Desegregation

Carol Parsonage, Texas Council for the Humanities, talks about the Oral History Project and provides some clips from the project.

School Desegregation (Windows Media)
School Desegregation (Real Media)

Principal of Big Sandy Excelsior Elementary School, an all-black grammar school. Later principal of the integrated elementary school in Big Sandy.

Reverend L.C. Bowie (Jarvis Christian College project):
We didn't even have all of the books that we needed, and we never did get new books. We always got used books at our school. Then we would issue the books out and look at the neighbors in the community, and where two or three would live close together, well, we would give them a math book where they could study together, and go study together in the evening and at night and weekend.

Eighth grade teacher at all-black Fouke-Hawkins High School who crossed over to teach sixth grade when the school in Hawkins were integrated.

Tonny Simmons: Student at all-black Fouke-Hawkins High School and graduate of the integrated Hawkins High School, where he was a star football player. Later the first African-American sheriff in Wood County.

Eva Lindsey: Graduate of Austin's all-black L.C. Anderson High School and a member of the Human Relations team put together by the Austin Independent School District to aid school desegregation. Now teaches at the junior college level.

Eva Lindsey (Huston-Tillotson project):
I was perfectly happy with being who I was, and I didn't know that it needed to be different until I was age twelve and I won a contest on the radio. My mom probably doesn't even remember this, but I was at my aunt's house, and I entered a contest and I was the winner. The prize for the winner was dinner for four at an Italian Restaurant. Well, I was just utterly excited, because I had never been to a restaurant except in the neighborhood, a little place, but not a real restaurant where you get dressed up in your Sunday-go-to meeting clothes and put your patent leather shoes on and go out to dinner. I had only seen that in books and on TV. My father was an interesting character. He taught me a lot by allowing me to experience and being gently somwhere in the close distance to make sure that I don't hurt myself or something of the sort. But anyway, he decided that he would take me to this restaurant. I was so overwhelmed, and I would not have believed him had he told me that I could not go, because I won it! The letter came in the mail, and we had the validation, and I was the winner. Of course, back then there was no zip codes for them to know where you lived. So we went to the restaurant, and we were not allowed in. I was able to get my dinner from the back door. Even now, when I think of that--so it tainted me.

Volma Overton: Graduate of Austin's all-black L.C. Anderson High School and a local NAACP leader during the period of school desegregation.

Vivian Howard: Student at all-black L.C. Anderson High School and graduate of Regan High School who chose to attend Regan under an early desegregation initiative called Freedom of Choice. Now works for the City of Austin at Austin Energy.

Vivian Howard (Huston-Tillotson project):
It took a long time for me to understand why they would not call upon me when I would hold my hand up to answer a question, until I just realized that where I am, I wasn't in Anderson High School or Kealing Junior High School; I was in a white facility. So therefore, they wanted the children that were already there, the white students, to shine, and they didn't give me an opportunity to do that.

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