The ramifications of racial segregation have inspired questions of rights, racism and relative power for generations. Though it existed in various forms nationwide, segregation is most notably associated with the South, rooted in the slave system the region supported for centuries.1 The schism affected all aspects of life: from drinking fountains, to neighborhoods, to theater seating, and especially the educational system. Segregation was legally upheld in the United States with the Supreme Court’s support of “separate but equal” treatment in its 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, but its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision demanded public schools integrate with “all deliberate speed.”2
The transition from de jure segregation following Brown is nationally associated with landmark events such as the desegregation of Central High School by the Little Rock Nine in 1957 or Virginia’s mass school closures in defiance of federally ordered integration in 1958. While these episodes serve as paradigms of what happened in every town across the country, they are more preferably considered pariahs, unfortunate chaos that unfolded somewhere else. Instead of remembering the history of school desegregation as its few moments of national notoriety, it should be remembered as it unfolded uniquely in communities across the nation. By understanding integration as it impacted individual cities, its modern vestiges can be identified and hopefully eliminated.
To this end, I studied the integration of schools in my hometown of Texarkana, U.S.A. I constructed a historical narrative of the time period leading up to, defining, and following school desegregation to see how this shift affected the community as a whole. This narrative, previously undocumented, began before Brown and ended in the mid-1970s. Running the gamut of every possible detainment strategy, Texarkana is a case study in the concerted efforts of American communities to maintain “separate but equal” school systems even after integration was ordered by the Supreme Court. This history is important to the community it centers around, but can also be studied as a microcosm of America as a whole, with two state governments, two school districts and two races integrating within a single community.
I chose Texarkana because, as a fifth generation native, I am the product of its schools over multiple generations. In 2015, I graduated from Texas High School, like my sister, mother, uncle, aunt, grandfather, great uncle, great aunt, great-grandmother and multiple cousins. My great-grandfather served on the combined boards of Texarkana Independent School District and Texarkana College until 1963, the year before the board voted to create an Integration Plan, despite not finishing high school or attending college himself. My grandfather was the first of these family members to pursue higher education, attending Texarkana College from 1954 to 1956. His entire elementary, secondary and post-secondary experiences in Texarkana were facilitated by segregated school systems. My mother, in contrast, attended the same schools with an integrated student body. The events that occurred between my grandfather’s graduation from Texas High School in 1954 and my mother’s first day of school at Kennedy Elementary in 1970 were not unique to Texarkana. But they are crucial in order to understand the dynamics present within those schools today.
For the 2015-2016 school year, Texas High School’s student body population was 40.8% Black and 41.2% white. Though these figures may seem like an integrationists dream come true, they are not consistent throughout course enrollment. Of all 11th and 12th grade students enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement course that year, only 7.4% were Black.3 To judge this disparity without understanding the school’s history of segregation would do a disservice to the community as a whole. A better picture of the educational disadvantage “separate but equal” schools caused the Black community will serve as a starting point for determining how to remedy the situation today.
To research this time period, I read the minutes of both the Texarkana Independent School District and Texarkana Arkansas School District No. 7 school board meetings from 1954-1975.4 In comparing the two sources, the TASD minutes had significantly fewer mentions of desegregation policies and actions and were also less detailed than the TISD minutes. To supplement this information, I used the Texarkana Gazette and Texarkana Daily News archives to understand the social climate and how race was discussed in publications. Finally, I interviewed individuals who were students and teachers during this time period to understand the personal impact the transition made on those who experienced it. These methods have not produced an infallible record. Archival microfilm of the newspapers was old and deteriorating, and issues were reviewed quickly. School board minutes were brief and only recorded the matters members wanted to be on record. Furthermore, I personally interviewed a small group of subjects, the majority of whom are Black. I cannot quantify or capture the extent to which my age or race impacted their responses, but I am not ignorant of its probable effects. In the words of Ike Forte, “I never thought that I, fifty years later, that I’d be sitting talking to a white lady about integration.”5
The objective of this thesis was to construct a historical narrative of Texarkana’s school desegregation from Brown v. Board to the final mention of desegregation by the school boards. This history is an important tool for identifying the causes of the inequality still present in schools today. Without addressing the issues at the root of the matter, this phenomenon will continue as a self-fulfilling prophecy; a prophecy that our community has allowed to perpetuate for far too long.
HISTORY OF TEXARKANA
The city of Texarkana sits squarely on the state line of Texas and Arkansas, 30 miles north of the Louisiana border. Named for the states it unites, the city is nestled in the bend of the Red River in Texas’ northeasternmost corner. The birthplace of ragtime legend Scott Joplin and billionaire Ross Perot, Texarkana is deeply connected to its small town roots and the duality of its heritage, defined by both its “Texas side” in Bowie County and its “Arkansas side” in Miller County. Centuries before Texarkana was formally established, the area was home to a Caddo Indian Village on the Great Southwest Trail.6 As white settlers began to move in from the east, and settle the area as early as 1820, slaves were brought in and Native Americans were pushed out.7 The area was rural and agrarian, home to farms of all sizes incorporating slavery in varying degrees. In antebellum Bowie County, Texas, slaves outnumbered freedmen, constituting 56% of the population in 1850 and 52% in 1860. In 1850, there were only 145 slaveholders, out of the total free population of 1,271, owning a combined 1,641 slaves.8 Across the line in Lafayette County, Arkansas (portions of which became modern-day Miller County in 1874), 39% of the total population were slaves in 1850, which decreased to 33% in 1860.9
The following century saw the American Civil War, two World Wars, and the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. Texarkana was formally founded in the interim when the Texas and Pacific railroad sold the first town lots on December 8, 1873.10 It began to grow in agriculture and industry, with factories and farms flourishing alike. As the population began to increase, separate schools were established for Black and white students on both sides of the state line.
By the time of the Brown v. Board decision in 1954, Texarkana Independent School District operated on the Texas side, and Texarkana Arkansas School District No. 7 operated on the Arkansas side. Arkansas had nine white schools (Arkansas Senior High, Arkansas Junior High, North Heights Junior High, Sixth Grade School, and Central, Fairview, College Hill and Union Elementary Schools) and six Black schools (Washington High School, Mandeville School, and Orr, College Hill “Colored,” Carver and Hervey Elementary Schools).11 Texas also had nine white schools (Texas Senior High, Texas Avenue Junior High, Westlawn Junior High, and Beverly, Central, Grim, Highland Park, Oaklawn, and Spring Lake Park Elementary Schools) and five Black schools (Dunbar Junior & Senior High School and Sunset, Newtown, Jones and Jamison Elementary Schools).12 Texas also operated the city’s only higher education institution, Texarkana Junior College, which only served white students. The districts had been segregated, both students and faculty, since inception, with the Black schools adhering to rules and budgets set by school boards with no Black members. Five miles west, however, the only Black school district in the state of Texas, Macedonia School District, operated independently until it integrated with the Liberty-Eylau School District in 1970.13
It would be impossible, and unjust, to generalize white attitudes toward desegregation during the civil rights era. However, locals James and Fran Burton Presley, writers for The Texas Observer, captured examples of racial attitudes through their writings about interactions and events they witnessed. Mrs. Presley’s 1964 article “Shampoos and Segregation” captured the attitudes of white women toward Black women as expressed in beauty parlor conversations:
“In almost all the beauty parlors I’ve patronized, a Negro woman has the job of shampooing and keeping the floor clean and the beauty supplies handy. Sometimes she is a licensed beautician. At one beauty shop the shampooer was busy when I went in for my appointment and the white beautician had to wash my hair. The pretty, platinum-haired girl fumed. She said to me, ‘All niggers are alike. They won’t do anything they can get out of.’
‘She was busy with another customer,’ I said.
‘Ha!’ she spat, ‘You oughta havta work with one.’”14
In another, Mrs. Presley recounted the feelings of a Black mother whose children had been transferred from a Black school to a white school.
“‘All my kids were making good grades at the colored school, but now their grades are bad.’
Her voice got louder.
‘Just listen to what happened to my daughter Mary. She was in the tenth grade, and a white girl started picking on her – because she was colored, I guess. She would push Mary in the line, and she even slapped her one day. Mary finally went to the teacher and told her what was happening. The teacher said ‘There’s nothing I can do about it.’ So Mary just went and beat up the white girl. They suspended Mary from school but didn’t do nothing to the white girl. Now that wasn’t fair! I didn’t mind them punishing Mary, but why didn’t they punish the white girl, too? She started it. It wasn’t fair. Mary never went back to school.’”15
In still another, Mrs. Presley discussed the reaction of Texarkana’s white community to the death of Martin Luther King.
“‘Now ain’t that awful,’ the old man said, ‘giving a big funeral like that to him. Jesus Christ did not get a funeral like that. Our senators don’t even get funerals like that.’
‘I know it,’ the woman said. ‘That’s all you can get on the radio or TV.’
‘We’ll understand it better by and by,’ the old man said, shaking his head…
A thousand people, mostly Negroes, attended a memorial service for Dr. King at the Texarkana College auditorium… A young Negro minister, Darnell Thomas, told the crowd, ‘The mayor on both the Texas side and Arkansas side were called and requested to proclaim a day of mourning in accordance with the president’s wishes. They refused. The bankers were called to lower the flags at the banks to half-mast. They refused. The superintendent of schools had to be called before he would lower the school flags.’”16
Similar to the writings of his wife, Mr. Presley depicted the scene of an anti-integration rally that took place in Texarkana in 1965. Dripping with satire, he compared the lack-luster affair to its “glorious” predecessors of the 1950s.
“Anti-integration rallies, like the old grey mare, just ain’t what they used to be hereabouts. Less than ten years ago a Texarkanian could go to a first-class white supremacy convention with the auditorium gaily decorated with signs admonishing him to “Think White” and “Buy White.” He could expect his white passions to be roiled by descriptions of the predatory nigra in action – and probably of the nigger too.
No more. The last “name” segger who was through town was Sheriff Jim Clark of Selma, Alabama, and he has not the inflammatory touch. The words were almost the same, except that he was more cautious. He didn’t build a case for physical and mental and moral superiority for the white man, as might have been heard ten years ago; he contented himself with describing the integrators in Selma, especially the outside bunch, as a corrupt crew who are most dedicated to interracial sex, dope, and alcohol. Much of his talk here on July 22 was defensive of his own role in Selma. He spent little of his time linking the integrationists to the communist conspiracy, although that was the subject announced by his sponsors and fee-payers to local Citizen’s Council.
The rally, which filled only the bottom half of the old Arkansas Auditorium and none of the balcony, was staged on one of the hottest nights of the year. Admission was free.17
Despite the decline in grandeur of such events, their continued existence paints a picture of local public opinion. Although not uncommon as far as the South is concerned, the general tone of these pieces is not one of racial harmony. The heritage of slavery and the racist sentiments it seeded manifested in malicious words and rallies, but also in deadly violence when the two races conflicted.
One-fourth of the cities’ combined population (about 50,000) is Negro. The past clearly indicates there are large pockets of race hatred here. There is violence in the history. The last lynching was in the early 1940’s, when a Negro man, accused of raping a white woman, was dragged down Broad Street, which is the main commercial stem, and hanged. The FBI investigated, but the murderers were never publicly identified.18
This was the existing atmosphere of the city during the civil rights era. Few were able to fathom how the two races, one of whom had been the other’s property less than a hundred years before, could be educated together as equals when they could not even drink from the same water fountain. The desire of both the TISD and TASD Boards to integrate “amicably and peaceably” resulted in little, or rather no concrete action for nearly a decade following Brown v. Board. The suppression of desegregation movements and justification of the inactivity that mark the interim period are a testament to the community’s desire to maintain their traditional, segregated way of life.
INTEGRATION OF TEXARKANA COLLEGE
Texarkana College, the only higher education institution in the area, served as the first battlefield of school desegregation in Texarkana. The first actions taken to integrate the College predate Brown v. Board, but many of the tactics the school board, and community at large, used to maintain its segregation remained in use at the primary and secondary levels for over a decade. Most importantly, Texarkana College was the first example of the city’s intentional defiance of court rulings demanding school desegregation. The attempted and later successful integration of Texarkana College spanned from pre- to post-Brown judgments and highlights the gravity of this shift in legislation.
To understand the school’s reaction to integration, it is important to understand its leadership and roots. Texarkana College was first established in 1927 on Pine Street, and moved to its current location on Robinson Street in 1953.19 The original building was consecrated by a cornerstone embedded at the main entrance which honored both education and the Confederacy.
Excited about getting underway with construction of the new college, board members broke up into numerous committees. One of the most interesting decisions concerned the cornerstone for the building. Board member E.M. Watts requested that granite from Stone Mountain, Georgia be used. Members agreed, noting that this was the same source in Georgia as that used for a famous statue of Robert E. Lee. They wanted to carve into it the following statement made by Lee concerning education: “The education of a man or woman is never completed until they die.” Many Southerners have retained a great deal of admiration for the noted Civil War general, and this appears to have been true of the TC Board.20
The College’s first president, Dr. Henry Stilwell, served from 1927 to 1959 and was simultaneously superintendent of TISD from 1920 to 1955. Stilwell “was known throughout the state for his work in education legislation” and received many state and local awards for his service in education.21 As a tribute to his service, the Texarkana College auditorium still bears his name, as does a street just north of the campus.
Dr. Stilwell’s loyalty to Texarkana’s educational systems is as undeniable as his determination to maintain its segregation. In 1952, two years before Brown v. Board, nine Black students from Dunbar High School sued Texarkana College in Whitmore v. Stilwell, claiming their admission to the College was denied “solely because of race.”22
Subject: — Your application to enroll in Texarkana College.
At a meeting last night, after hours of deliberation and conferences with a group of Negro Citizens, the Texarkana College Board took the following action on your application to enroll in the Texarkana College: —
In response to your inquiry with reference to your eligibility to attend the Texarkana Junior College, you are advised that Article 7, Section 7, of the Constitution of this State [Vernon’s Ann. St.] provides that `separate schools shall be provided for the white and colored children * * *’
Implementing this Section of the Constitution is Article 2900 of the Statutes which provides that `no white children shall attend schools supported for colored children nor shall colored children attend schools supported for white children.’ Therefore, under the laws and Constitution of this State you are not qualified to attend the Texarkana Junior College.
The Texarkana College Board of Education
By T. A. Bain, Secretary 23
Whitmore v. Stilwell was first dismissed in 1955 by U.S. District Judge Joseph Sheehy in Tyler, Texas, nearly a year after the Brown v. Board decision. Judge Sheehy cited four reasons for denying the students’ request: failure of the students to reapply for admission to the College after the Brown v. Board decision, failure of the students to bring all members of the Texarkana College Board as defendants before the court, failure to provide evidence that the students were qualified to be admitted, and denial of petition until the Supreme Court finalized decrees in the Brown v. Board case. In November of that same year, Judge Sheehy’s arguments were nullified and reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, “with instructions to the district court that it declare that plaintiffs’ right to admission in the Texarkana Junior College must be judged on the same basis as if they were members of the white race, and that the refusal of the defendants to admit plaintiffs on account of their race or color is unlawful.”
The students were therefore victorious in court, but Judge Sheehy’s refusal to order the College to integrate is an important tool for understanding the time and place of the decision. Judge Sheehy decided the students were ineligible because they had not reapplied to the College since the final Brown v. Board decision, and therefore he could not presume that “the College [would] not discharge the duties imposed upon it by the reasoning of that decision.” This ruling was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which countered there was “no sound basis for requiring the plaintiffs to reapply for admission after they had brought suit and thus had asserted and [continued] to assert their constitutional rights.” 24 The lower court assumed the College would undoubtedly and willingly comply with the Brown v. Board decision without need of an injunction. This ruling was either naïve in assuming the Texarkana College Board would adhere to a decision made for another state and school district before adhering to the Texas State Constitution, or pernicious in perpetuating the free will of an institution that had expressly excluded Black students on the basis of race. Additionally, the lower court cited the plaintiffs’ failure to prove their qualifications to attend the College, not due to the inadequacy of their individual applications, but by questioning the validity of Dunbar High School’s accreditation. The Fifth Circuit overruled this, citing proof of Dunbar’s accreditation in the Texas Education Agency Public School Directory; but the belief underlying the original claim remained: Black schools did not produce students on par with the white schools and, therefore, could not produce students fit for admittance to white colleges.
Despite the commotion surrounding the Brown v. Board decision and the Whitmore v. Stilwell reversal, there was no discussion of integration in the Texarkana College Board minutes. While there were no further movements to desegregate the College for two years following Brown, stories of desegregation attempts and riots in Mansfield, TX, Clinton, TN, and other southern towns filled the local newspaper.25 It wasn’t until September 10, 1956, over two years after Brown declared that states should integrate schools “with all deliberate speed” and eleven months after the reversal of Whitmore regarding Texarkana College integration that Black students first attempted to enter the campus.26
On the first Monday of the 1956-1957 school year, two Black students arrived at the College to report for classes. “It was a tense 15 minutes between the time the Negro girl, Jessalyn Gray, 18, and the Negro boy, Steve Poster, 17, arrived in a cab to face a crowd of some 300 white men and male students, and the time they retreated from the campus in the same cab.”27 For an hour leading up to the students’ arrival “a jeering crowd which moved to the very edge of actual violence” had amassed, shouting “jeers and catcalls and derisive remarks” and displaying “signs declaring “No NAACP Goons.” “No NAACP Communism.” “Go North Nigger.” and others.”28 Gray was asked, “Are you going to try and go through that picket line?” She replied, “Well, I want to.”29 The students attempted to enter the building, but were continuously blocked as the crowd formed “a solid mass” between them and the entrance.30 As the prospective students began retreating from the school, “several young white boys fell in step with the negro boy.” 31 Poster was isolated and surrounded by the mob, which began to throw pea gravel at him. After a white boy began kicking at him, he rejoined Gray at the cab. The two left without ever successfully entering the building to begin their classes. Four Texas Rangers and two local police officers were present but would not escort the students into the school because “Rangers were under strict orders to stay out of the integration dispute.”32
This incident, following the Whitmore v. Stilwell decision demanding Black students be admitted to the College, shows how deeply animosity towards integration permeated the white community. The inability or unwillingness of law enforcement to interfere and escort the students into the building, as well as the magnitude and ferocity of the mob that amassed, were further proof that legislative decrees would need to be enforced by a higher power in order for the school to be successfully integrated.
The Texarkana Gazette coverage of the story is as telling as violence itself. The day after the riot, managing editor Bob Mundella wrote a piece that headlined the front page of the paper, accompanied by photos of the students and mob.33 The article detailed the sequence of events, including the obscenities displayed on signs, the passivity of present law enforcement, and the crowd’s assault on Poster. Public opinion of this reporting is unknown, but the following day the Gazette featured an editorial titled “Integration and the Texarkana College” defending the paper’s responsibility “to report the news accurately and objectively in words and pictures, using the restraint we feel is necessary to minimize the threat of violence,” as if their objectivity needed a defense.
This is not simply a matter of the Supreme Court handing down a decision and it will not be resolved merely on the cold law of the land but on the other hand must be resolved in the minds and hearts of the people, whether they be white or black…. The simple overall facts are these: that two Negro students, assuredly not on their volition alone, have attempted to enroll and attend classes at the college. It has been amply demonstrated to them that they are not welcome at the college. In other words it has been made evident that the Texarkana College is not ready for integration and that it cannot be accomplished without force. If Negro leaders persist in an attempt to force these children into the college they will be guilty, in a sense, of instigating violence and public opinion will not be on their side. On the other side of the question, the exponents of segregation will not be contributing anything to their cause by committing acts of violence against the persons or property of Negro residents of our city. Only great grief can come to both races by allowing our passions to get the better of our judgment.34
This idea that the College, the community, and the South at large were not yet “ready” for desegregation directly contradicted the Supreme Court’s declaration that schools should be integrated with “all deliberate speed.” More than that, the assertion that integrating schools before they were “ready” would cause violent responses furthered the idea that continued segregation was necessary to maintain peace. George E. Sokolsky wrote an article titled “The Supreme Court” for the Texarkana Gazette the day after the Texarkana College riot, describing the importance of Brown in the fight for state’s rights and its impact on racial harmony: “The Southern states, for instance, claim that they were making great progress in the solution of the Negro question, but that the Supreme Court decision aroused such passions in the South that it set back racial relations in the South several decades. This decision is definitely an anti-states’ rights decision.”35 While the debate between the authority of states versus civil rights continues today, most of these evocations were thinly veiled attempts to excuse a deeply rooted white supremacist institution reluctant to lose control.
The portrayed dichotomy between peaceful segregation of pre-Brown days and the violence that integration incited is paralleled by the Texarkana Gazette’s articles on the College riot versus the peace of the day after. “All was quiet at Texarkana College Tuesday, despite the presence on the campus of some 300 adults and male students who waited in vain for Negroes to appear for classes.”36 A mob was present “until the college closed its doors for the day” awaiting the Black students who never returned.37 The head of the Texarkana White Citizens Council, J. F. Williamson, sent a telegram to Homer Garrison, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as Governor Shivers praising the conduct of local law enforcement and the Texas Rangers, saying they “controlled the situation at Texarkana Junior College where Communist NAACP has attempted to force Negroes into a white school over opposition of the community.”38 This peace that followed was associated with the success of the mob in their efforts to keep the school all-white, as well as the diligence of law enforcement’s maintenance of order – albeit order due to Black students being barred and the white mob having its way. This dynamic was by no means an isolated phenomenon, especially compared to larger and more nationally known outbreaks such as the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock the following year; but this example speaks to the ways in which Texarkana, and the South at large, viewed desegregation and dealt with its approach.
To continue attempts to integrate Texarkana College, NAACP attorney U. Simpson Tate sent telegrams to Texas Governor Shivers and President Eisenhower requesting protection for the students should they have tried to enter again. Tate also filed suit against President Stilwell and Texarkana College Board member Bill Williams for contempt of court.39 Allegations were brought against Williams because he was a member of the mob that prevented the students from entering the College, but Stilwell was neither reported as, nor accused of being, present that day.40 Stilwell, however, did speak at a White Citizen’s Council meeting in the days leading up to the event, and was quoted as saying to the crowd, “it is not only your right to protest Negroes attending the Texarkana College, it is your duty to do so.”41 The Texarkana Gazette reported that “following this meeting… there were many demonstrations including the burning of fiery crosses, shooting into the business establishment of a Negro, and various threats and other acts of coercion and threats of violence.”42
Stilwell’s right to express his anti-segregation opinions was defended in an editorial, which also condemned the irresponsibility of the NAACP for insisting upon integrating the college and “creating an atmosphere of violence.”43 While continuing the narrative that the Black community menacingly incited violence with its integration attempts, the article also spoke to the Supreme Court’s abuse of power and usurpation of “the functions of the legislative and executive branches of the government, areas in which it has no right to function.”44 Stilwell asserted that the Court’s domination of the legislative and executive branches drew America “perilously close to dictatorship.”45 A few days later the Texarkana Gazette reported that Stilwell was “not worried about the contempt charge” brought against him and that he claimed he was “not in contempt of court at any time and did not advocate violence at any time.”46
The complaint Tate brought on behalf of Gray and Poster was heard in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas on September 27, 1956, before none other than Judge Sheehy, the same judge who had dismissed the Whitmore v. Stilwell case a year before.47 Despite overwhelming evidence against the two defendants, the claim was thrown out after “the two plaintiffs… testified that they had never retained any attorney to represent them,” blatantly ignoring the fact that Tate could legally represent the plaintiffs without a formal retainer agreement.48 When called to the stand, both Gray and Poster expressed their desire was first and foremost to “just go to college.” After the hearing, both students said “they would continue their efforts to enter Texarkana College and ‘would retain a lawyer.’”49
In addition to damaging the integration efforts within Texarkana, the hearing further fueled the fire beneath another case taking place at the time, State of Texas v. NAACP. In this case, the state enacted a “temporary restraining order” against the NAACP, which forced it to cease its Texas operations.50 The case was formed on charges of coercing plaintiffs to file suits and failure to pay taxes in line with a for-profit business.51 The NAACP’s alleged “coercion” of Gray and Poster into filing suit against Texarkana College was yet another weapon the Texas State Attorney General, John Ben Shepperd, could use against the organization. Shepperd had been an “interested spectator” present at the hearing for Gray and Poster, and was quoted as saying their “testimony [would] be of interest to Bowie County authorities. It should come before the Bowie County grand jury. I intend to ask them to look into it.”52 While the Bowie County grand jury never ruled on the issue, State of Texas v. NAACP was heard in district court by Judge Otis T. Dunagan in Tyler, Texas on September 28, 1956, the day after the hearing in the case involving Gray and Poster. Thurgood Marshall, who defended the NAACP, called the case the “greatest crisis” in the history of the organization.53 Judge Dunagan ultimately placed an injunction on the NAACP in 1957, saying “the organization was barred from engaging in the practice of law or financing a suit in which they have no direct interest; engaging in political activities or in lobbying activities contrary to state law; soliciting lawsuits, either directly or indirectly; or hiring or paying any litigant to bring, maintain or prosecute a law suit.”54 Despite this ruling, the NAACP felt that they were not “enjoined from any act they could have done lawfully under our charter before the Tyler suit” and continued to fight for civil rights across Texas and the nation.55
As the NAACP focused on the state charges brought against them, pressure against Texarkana College decreased. There is no further mention in the Texarkana Gazette of legal action against the College or of attempts to integrate it over the next seven years. It wasn’t until June 12, 1963 when Linda Ruth Tolbert and Albirda P. Briley enrolled for summer classes that Texarkana College was officially desegregated.56 The Texarkana Gazette reported that they were “the first qualified Negroes to apply for enrollment at the Texarkana College since the federal courts in 1956 ordered the College to admit qualified Negro applicants.” This statement furthered the narrative that Texarkana College had not rejected Black students due to racial reasons, thereby disqualifying the applications of Jessalyn Gray and Steven Poster.57 The article also reported that the College had “no choice but to comply with the court order,” removing the Board’s agency in admitting Black students so as to maintain its innocence in the public eye. There were no mobs or racist signs as Tolbert and Briley entered the college, but that night a mob of 200 held a cross burning and marched through downtown in protest.58 “The Crowd was composed mostly of college-aged students chanting anti-integration slogans as they marched down Broad Street accompanied by shouts and honking horns… Although the demonstrators were mostly of college age, many were not students at Texarkana College and some weren’t college students at all.”59 The protest was broken up by Police Chief Jack O’Brien who was congratulated in a Gazette editorial the following day for his “sage advice” that dispelled the crowd.60 “This is the way we want it in Texarkana. Over and above everything else we all want to stand for just what the police and firemen were standing for Wednesday night – law and order,” the article continues, commenting on the obligation of newspapers to “uphold the law and keep people informed.”61
This editorial also briefly advertised an opinion contrary to that which the Gazette primarily published in the early 60s: that of empathy toward Black citizens. “A goodly section of the southern press has not taken into account what it means to be a Negro and to be reminded several times in the day that you are not worth very much.”62 While previous articles had apologetically reported the plights of Black citizens in the name of informing the public, lacing statements with defenses for the system as it stood so as not to be considered too sympathetic, this acknowledged both the pervasive social and psychological inequality of the segregated society and white citizens’ insensitivity to it. An editorial the following day furthered the condemnation of violence and rioting. “In these critical days when harmony between the races in a community is so important, parents should advise their children that this is not the time for juvenile escapades… Well-bred, intelligent people do not engage in brawls and riots.”63 Although this language did dismiss “brawls and riots” as “juvenile escapades,” it did not condemn violence with racial motivations. Furthermore, the phrasing suggested that the individuals rioting were neither well-bred nor intelligent, thereby distinguishing between the manifestation of racism in different classes of people, instead of the fault of racism itself. The pleas of the Gazette ultimately had little effect on the riots surrounding civil rights movements, but there were no further exhibitions advocating against the College’s integration.
Ultimately, the integration of Texarkana College was a victory, but inclusion did not mean acceptance. Jaqueline Odom and Linda Tolbert were the only two Black students in the sophomore graduating class of 1964, with eleven Black students in the freshman class below them.64 Classes were integrated, but extracurricular organizations, such as the football team, and the staff and administration of the college remained white. However, with a two-year turnover rate and a monopoly as the only local post-secondary school, the number of Black students and depth of their involvement increased each subsequent year. The College established an integrated community, albeit majority white, that served as an example for the local school districts to emulate.
INTEGRATION OF TISD AND TASD SCHOOLS
Integration of the public schools on both the Texas and Arkansas sides of Texarkana was longer delayed and harder won than that of Texarkana College. While college was an elite pursuit of the few, the public schools were attended by all and played an integral role in the communities they represented. On the Texas side, white students attended Texas High School while Black students attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. In Arkansas, white students attended Arkansas High School while Black students attended Booker T. Washington High School. The white schools bore the names of the places they proudly served, embodying the spirit of the state line and the pride the residents had for their respective relationships to it. The Black schools were named for prominent Black Americans, both of whom were successful, educated, champions of equality, neither of whom had any connection to Texarkana. The white students learned in buildings named for the places they occupied in the world and the community in which they were rooted. The Black students learned in buildings named for men who would have advocated against the very nature of the segregated schools that bore their names.
The first public school to be established in Texarkana was Texas High School, which graduated its first class in 1889.65 The first Black school on the Texas side was Central High School, on Seventh Street and Elm, the same site where the original Dunbar High School was built in 1920.66 The first public high school in Texarkana, Arkansas was established in 1896, with the first class graduating in 1899. First located in a building “on the southeast corner of the Central school block,” Arkansas High School served the white students of the Arkansas side.67 The first public high school for Black students on the Arkansas side was established a quarter of a century later, in 1926, and came to be called Washington High School.
The true timeline of integration of these systems begins not with the first class of integrated students but with the first conversation about the process. With the unfavorable public reaction to Brown, Texarkana anxiously felt it was not yet ready to integrate. In three pieces regarding TISD and TASD students and official’s reaction to Brown, the Texarkana Gazette chronicled the city’s first views on an issue that would take over a decade to resolve in the meanest sense of the word.
In an opinion piece whose author’s name has been lost to deteriorating microfilm, the abruptness of the Brown decision was condemned while acknowledging the essence of its ruling as morally just.
It may be many years before we know for sure whether the national conscience clearing attempted by this caesarean method is worth the convulsions which it will immediately produce. A very great many people have been convinced for generations that segregation was inherently wrong, law or no law, and a violation of national morals. But they haven’t known what to do about it, and still don’t… Perhaps it is time that surgery be applied to this canker which has been softened by but has not yielded to empirical cures. Certainly there can be pride that the Supreme Court has finally faced up to what has obviously been the law all the time. Administered with goodwill, it may prove an important step in clearing up the whole matter of segregation. Children growing up together can hardly maintain the deep suspicions which have so complicated this problem. But it may be, too, that it would have been best to let the natural forces of conciliation have their slow way rather than revive at this point the bitterness with which many communities will receive this verdict.68
This summary takes a liberal view for the time and place of its writing, but nevertheless captures an uneasy query pondered by many: “Segregation is wrong, but what do we do about it?” Underlying unwillingness to change was fear that Texarkana’s simple way of life would be threatened by Washington’s cure.
These fears were further documented in a news piece published the day after the Supreme Court’s decision. TASD Superintendent W.M. Locke summarized the general sentiment in saying “this is not something that can be worked out overnight.”69 Similarly, Reverend B. C. Stewart, pastor of the Union Hill Baptist Church told reporters “It is most gratifying… Yet we realize that this will create a challenge to both the white and colored citizenry of our section of the country, for tradition cannot be changed without adjustment on both sides.” But the tradition would have to come second to the new judicial decree. TISD, TASD, and Miller County officials echoed sentiments best summed up by the Bowie County School’s superintendent Ben Fort: “If that’s the court’s ruling, there’s nothing we can do but abide by it.”70 Resignation to submit to the decision was not accepted by all, with students among the most opinionated and vocal. Arkansas High Senior Class President Paul Caver succinctly said “I don’t believe [integration] will work in the South,” while Texas High Senior Class President James Haltom told reporters “the Negro race [was] trying to make social advances in 100 years that it took the white race 2000 years to attain.” Another Arkansas student bluntly stated he was “moving back to Atlanta, Ga. to go to a private school.” Other white students expressed confusion as to why Black students would want to integrate since “equal facilities [had] been provided for them.” While the white students buzzed with confusion and dismay, Black students were more optimistic and encouraged by the decision. “Cecil Stewart of Dunbar High School for Negroes, a senior said: I think that it indicates progress in our American way of life, and there are several economic advantages from the standpoint of eliminating a dual school and having access to the local college.”71 Other Dunbar students echoed this, saying it would be “nice for all students to go to school together,” believing it would “work out.”72
In line with the two preceding publications, the Gazette editorial called the decision the “most significant sociological pronouncement in the history of our country and perhaps in the history of the world.”73 It acknowledged the inevitability of the decision, but reiterated the popular sentiment that it would be better for actions to be delayed until both races could “adjust their thinking in the light of this age of change.” The editorial also reminded readers that they were a “law abiding people” and encouraged a reasonable response to the decree. Most especially, it warned the Black community of the dangers that might arise if integration were aggressively pursued.
The decision poses an even greater challenge to the Negroes than it does the whites. Their progress will be in ratio to the wisdom with which they approach this new opportunity. Arrogance will accomplish nothing but on the contrary will serve to further complicate a difficult situation. There is much greater dignity in humility and we believe the Negroes in this section of the country know that to be true.74
Humility, a white man’s word for Black passivity and submission, had been the status quo since Texarkana’s founding and was suddenly no longer the name of the game. The legality of the city’s segregated educational structure had suddenly flipped, leaving the majority on the wrong side of the law. The beginning of this battle was undoubtedly a challenge for the Black community, but the dignity and perseverance with which they pursued equality is admirable.
Confusion followed regarding how, and at what speed, the schools would integrate. Donald Nelson, Washington High School Class of 1954, remarked “when I was a senior… we thought that the kids at Booker Washington the next year were going to integrate [Arkansas High].”75 In reality, it was nearly a decade before the TASD Board even broached the topic of desegregation, and fifteen years until the schools integrated. “When the courts decided that the local people would decide, and the local people were against integration, then ‘all deliberate speed’ meant something different. It meant ‘I’m going to stay out of this as long as I can.’”76
The first formal mention of integration by a Texarkana school board was made in June 1955 at a TISD Board meeting. The minutes state:
The Board discussed at some length the segregation problem, indicating every member’s great concern as to which might be the best way to continue studying the problem. It was decided that a certain number of citizens of the school district might be called-in to help study the ways and means of the segregation problem. It was decided that each Board member should select 5 names of people thought willing to give time and study in this instance and to send them to the Superintendent’s office for a preparation of a consolidated list to be presented at the next Board meeting… The Board has been greatly concerned about the segregation problem for quite some time and has studied and discussed it during previous meetings.77
This mention is noteworthy because it implies segregation was discussed “during previous meetings” in conversations that were not recorded. Furthermore, the TISD board was one and the same as the Texarkana College Board until they split in June of 1955, which means that throughout the protests and legal battles the College faced, there was no documented mention of the matter of segregation.78 A few months later, however, in August of 1955,both districts received petitions from the Texarkana Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.79 The TASD minutes merely acknowledge the receipt of a letter from the organization in a single dismissive sentence, but the TISD minutes include the letter written on “behalf of Negro parents and their children… urging the Texarkana School Board to integrate their children in the school system.” The petition received by TISD was signed by 92 parents, and was acknowledged with a letter advising the petitioners that the Board had “already given many hours of serious study to this subject” and would do so until the matter was “amicably and peaceably resolved in accordance with the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and applicable laws governing the operations of the schools.”80 This was supplemented with an official statement declaring the Board’s unanimous decision “that segregation would not be abolished in 1955.”81 This stance, and the separatist sentiments behind it, held for the better part of the next decade.
In September of 1955, following the receipt of the NAACP petition and continued conversation as to “how to best school Texarkana’s Negro pupils,” the TISD Board received a letter from the National Association for the Advancement of Segregation.82 Their request of the Board to preserve the current “culture and way of life through segregation or separation of races, on a sensible and legal basis,” was based on fears of the “amalgamation of races,” which the letter describes as the catalyst of decay which led to the fall of the Roman and Greek empires.83 This letter exemplifies the bold racism of some Texarkanians. Racism that influenced not only their beliefs on the segregation of schools, but their belief in the innate inferiority of Black people.
A year after this appeal, the TISD Board again discussed the “problem of desegregation,” concluding “all members agreed that no satisfactory solution had been advanced by an [sic] State, District, Person or Agency, and that the problem was a personal one to be solved to the satisfaction of members of both races within the Texarkana Independent School District.”84 The narrative of deflection and procrastination continued.
Although there had yet to be a formal mention by the TASD Board, in 1957 they “unanimously approved changing the name of the North Heights Elementary School to the Robert E. Lee Elementary School” if a patron poll agreed with the decision.85 There is no further record of the results of this poll, or the school’s name change, but this motion indicates a deep seeded animosity toward the impending change, and a strong desire to make a statement against it. Loyalty to the Southern Confederacy’s ideals could not be reconciled with the prospect of integration.
On the Texas side, more concrete steps were taken, with the TISD Board’s approval of an arrangement that came to be called the “Registration Plan.” This plan detailed the actions to be taken “should a Negro pupil appear in the classroom of a White school.”86 The procedure included sending the student to the principal’s office, who would then call the Black principal to come and retrieve them. It required the Black principal to encourage the pupil to enroll in a Black school, speak with his/her parents, and notify the “counselor for the colored schools” and the principal. Parentheticals were included at the end of each statement to include “same procedure to be applied should a white pupil appear in a Negro school.” This plan was passed by the TISD Board every year from 1957 to 1961. TISD was still strictly segregated during the 1962-1963 school year, but relaxed their policy by no longer approving such a strict plan of action.
In the midst of these administrative technicalities and the continued concentration on keeping Black and white students separate, other races came into question. When two Peruvian students requested to enroll at Texas High School in 1960, the superintendent formally presented the matter to the Board. “Their parents who are physicians might be associated with one of the local hospitals. The students are Latin Americans, and will be legally eligible to enroll in the white schools.”87 This mention confirms segregation was not a question of being “not white” but of being “not Black.” The need to vet outsiders and ascertain their precise ethnicity to determine which school they could legally attend highlights the preposterous nature of segregation.
On the Arkansas side, segregation was either unmentioned or discussed off the record until 1963, when the Board broke its silence and responded to the petition of nine Black students to attend white schools.88 “There had been no request on behalf of any Negro student to attend an integrated school until these applications were received,” the statement read, and those first applications “came too near to the beginning of the school term to permit the orderly implementation of an efficient plan for desegregation during the 1963-1964 school year.”89 The Board did, however, plan to design a plan for “non-discriminatory school assignments” to be put into effect the following school year.
The Board feels that the careful planning and administrative preparation that can be done between now and the school year beginning in September, 1964, will contribute substantially to maintenance of the District’s high educational standards. It is felt that this is in the best interest of all the students of the District, as contrasted to the disruptions that might result from hasty adjustments at this late date regarding assignments for the 1963-1964 school year.
It is important to note that no Black students had requested to attend white TASD schools in the decade following the Brown decision. Resignation to comply with the local laws, even when directly contradicting federal demands, is evidence of how deeply rooted the “tradition” of segregation was and how insurmountable its correction seemed to be.
Despite the TASD Board’s promise to desegregate schools by 1964, the school attorneys provided solicited advice later that same month advising the change not be fought against.
As the attorneys for the Texarkana Arkansas School Board we feel compelled to advise [the TASD Board], that it is our opinion, that resistance of school integration in our federal courts will be a costly undertaking. In addition it is our best judgment that the opposition will be futile, serving [at] best to delay integration, as ultimately the federal courts will order complete or partial integration of the Texarkana Public School System.90
This statement begs the questions: how authentic was the previous announcement of future desegregation plans? and how long was the TASD Board really intending to fight integration? This is the only record of either board’s intended defiance of federal rulings, with the only deterrent being the cost of federal proceedings. With anti-integration sentiments still prevalent in 1964, what would it take to prompt the Board to action and truly get the ball rolling?
The ball did begin rolling, but slowly, following federal threats to both districts’ pocketbooks. In May of 1964 the TISD Board produced a desegregation plan to begin the 1964-1965 school year. The first grade would be desegregated, with each following grade desegregating every subsequent year until all twelve grades were free to choose their school of choice.91 This was purely desegregation, however, not true integration. The plan abolished segregation based upon race but required parents of students to apply to transfer their children to any school outside of their neighborhood zone. Thus began the “Freedom of Choice” period in Texarkana. Though there is no record of the extent to which schools were actually integrated, it is noted that a significant effort was required to successfully transfer a student out of their pre-prescribed school and into another.
Applications for transfer of first grade students from the school of their zone to another school will be given careful consideration and will be granted when made in writing by parents or guardians or those acting in the position of parents when good cause therefor is shown and when transfer is practicable, consistent with sound school administration.92
Therefore, if “good cause” could not be proven or transfer was not “practicable,” students would be required to remain where they were. Terms and specifications of what might qualify as “good cause” or “impracticable” were not defined. This Integration Plan was not to be the final solution, however. The following school year a new plan expanded the system of voluntary integration to grades 1-6, then following plans expanded to grades 1-9 in September of 1966 and grades 1-12 in September of 1967. Therefore, by the 1967-1968 school year, any student of any race on the Texas side could petition to attend the school of their choosing.
A similar system was set up on the Arkansas side, without multiple iterations and modifications, and maintained a much more complicated application process. Beginning the 1964-1965 school year, first and second grade students were allowed to petition for re-assignment to the school of their choice. Requests for reassignment had to proceed by: (1) filing a written application within 10 days of being notified of their child’s school assignment that was signed by both parents and “verified before an officer authorized to administer oaths,” (2) attending a hearing before the Board, where both parents and the child must be present, to petition their case, (3) submitting the child to interviews and oral, written and physical examinations, and (4) petitioning the Board with a new application if the Board’s final decision was dissatisfactory.93 In the midst of the process, students would continue to attend the school to which they were originally assigned and, regardless of the result of a petition, the Board retained “the right to change the assignment of any child at any time.”94 In addition to the difficulty of the application process, the given standards and criteria that would be used by the Board to make its decisions were even more subjective and vague. They included “the psychological effect upon the pupil of attendance at a particular school” and “the effect of admission of the pupil upon the academic progress of other students in a particular school” in their considerations, despite the subjective nature of such decisions. Furthermore, “the adequacy of pupil’s academic preparation,” was considered as part of admission, which is confusing given all students were educated in “equal” schools within the same district.95 If a fifth grader from a Black school had not been sufficiently academically prepared to attend the sixth grade in a white school, that disqualified the asserted equality of the segregated institutions. The plan was to be “extended two consecutive grades each year until the pupils of each of the twelve grades” had the opportunity to choose their school.96 Had this system continued to completion, the Arkansas side would still not have been entirely desegregated until the 1969-1970 school year.
Although discussions and debates on local integration had been ongoing since the 1950s, the true catalyst for these changes was the sudden fear of suspension of federal funding. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”97 Issuing lenient guidelines first in 1965, and then more exacting in 1967, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) provided states with a minimum gradient and timetable by which they must desegregate their school systems to comply with the Act, finally hastening the snails pace at which desegregation had been moving.98
“Freedom of Choice” was a step in the right direction for Texarkana, but it was a step too small and too slow to fully integrate all students. Thirteen applications were received by the TASD board from students in grades 3-12 petitioning for reassignment for the 1964-1965 school year.99 While the plan might have caught up to some of them eventually, most of them would have been forced to continue and graduate from a segregated system. Furthermore, there was no plan for the integration of the teaching staff until the 1966-1967 school year.100 The limitations of the “Freedom of Choice” period were felt acutely by all: it wasn’t segregated enough for the segregationists, it wasn’t integrated enough for the integrationists. Nobody was happy, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 still wasn’t adhered to, and the minutes for both school boards were riddled with complaints and challenges to every decision.
Not until 1968 was the complete abolition of the dual school system finally discussed. The TISD School Board voted on May 16, 1968, by a vote of 6-1, to make Dunbar Junior and Senior High School exclusively a Junior High and to allow all TISD students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, regardless of race, to attend Texas Senior High School on Kennedy Lane.101 The elementary and junior high schools were to remain operating under the Freedom of Choice system until the 1969-1970 school year. Additionally, a minimum of one or two teachers of the race opposite to that which each school historically taught would be assigned to every campus. This breakthrough, although incentivized by the need to comply with HEW regulations, was a step in the right direction.
The 1969-1970 school year marked the end of the Freedom of Choice period and the beginning of mandated integration of all schools and grade levels on the Texas side. As the high schools had already been consolidated by this time, the elementary schools were primarily affected by this change. Each elementary school was paired with one or two others, and all the students in the same grade level were combined into one large cohort. These amalgamated cohorts were then distributed between the schools. For example, two schools with grades one through five would become one school with grades one through three and another with grades four and five. This allowed students districted for former Black schools to attend former white schools, and vice versa. Highland Park Elementary and Jamison Elementary, renamed Spruce Street, were just such a pairing, with first through fourth grade students from both zones attending Highland Park, and fifth and sixth grade students attending Jamison. Similar pairings were made between Kennedy, Spring Lake Park and Goree (Lincoln Street) Elementary Schools; Beverly, Oaklawn and Jones (Fifteenth Street) Elementary Schools; Sunset and Grim Elementary Schools; and Wake Village and Nash Elementary Schools.102 Under this pairing system, Wake Village was the least integrated school with only 2% Black students, and Oaklawn Elementary was the most integrated school with 38% Black students.103
There is less information about the end of the Freedom of Choice period on the Arkansas side, but it is apparent that the Board was unwilling to modify its original arrangement established in 1964. However, despite this delay, the minutes still indicate the encroaching pressures from the outside world. In April of 1965, “John Stroud, school attorney, reported to the Board on recent developments in compliance procedures for the 1964 Civil Rights Legislation.”104 A draft of a new plan was then mentioned, only once, and never included in the archives. Then in October of the same year, the TASD Board voted to require its approval on all future tests and questionnaires administered by the HEW.105 The Board wanted to monitor what information the federal department gathered on the integration progress; yet, it did not attempt to modify its Freedom of Choice plan or stringent criteria to successfully petition transfer. In February 1966, however, the minutes mention “statement of compliance for the new Guidline [sic] for School Desegregation,” as well as a Voluntary School Consolidation Act.106 Neither of these were referenced in later meetings, but it is clear that the Board understood integration was inevitable.
Finally, on June 26, 1968, a letter was sent from the TASD Board to the HEW acknowledging its request for the school to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and describing its new plan to do so.107 The plan included (1) closing W.T. Daniels Elementary and adding additional rooms to Kilpatrick, (2) bussing from the Mandeville area to Kilpatrick, instead of the existing system of bussing to Carver, and eliminating other segregated bus routes, (3) establishing Carver as a city-wide kindergarten and remedial center, (4) combining all 10th, 11th, and 12th grades at Arkansas High School, (5) constructing a new junior high building and accommodating all 7th, 8th and 9th grade students in the district at either the new junior high or College Hill Junior High, (6) combining Jefferson Avenue Junior High and Arkansas High, (7) converting Washington High School to a vocational and technical school, and (8) increasing assignment of teachers to schools “in which their race is the minority.” Despite its obvious improvements over the previous plan, it was not approved by the HEW. Still attempting to comply, revisions were again made including specifying how the junior high schools would be integrated should the bond for a new building fail, where students and teachers from W.T. Daniels Elementary would be dispersed and what would become of the Carver and Washington Schools. Although the revision offered more clarity than the vague declarations of the original, very few concrete specifics were given. However, the plan specified that students displaced by the closing of W.T. Daniels would not be incorporated into Carver, thereby ensuring that the closing did not relegate all Black students to a single elementary campus.
This system was far from successful, and far from truly integrated. With the dual system only eliminated in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades, students in grades 1-9 still had to petition for transfer if they wanted to attend a school for which they were not zoned. Although there were only two historically Black schools remaining, and there is no official data confirming the racial composition of their enrollments, it is hard to believe white parents would choose to bus their children out of white schools and into Black schools. The HEW was not satisfied with this system either, but the Board “voted unanimously not to meet with an audit committee from the regional office of HEW” in January of 1970. Instead, they opted “to work out and submit a plan for the desegregation of the Carver and Washington Junior High Schools without assistance from the team.”108 This plan, finalized in May, made Washington a sixth grade school for the entire district, combining all the sixth grade teachers and students from the other elementary schools. Seventh, eighth and ninth graders from Washington were distributed evenly between Jefferson Avenue and College Hill Junior High Schools. Carver was closed, to be “reserved for special activities,” with students in its district divided evenly between the remaining five elementary schools. “Every effort would be made to keep that ratio of Black to white students and teachers in each school the same as Black is to white for the whole system,” but students living outside the area would be “assigned under the existing freedom of choice procedures.”109 Although the dual system had only been truly eliminated for the 6th and 10th-12th grades, there were no longer any former Black schools to which Black students could be relegated. These modifications to the plan were approved in June of 1970, and marked the end of the desegregation period within the district.
The mechanics of integrating the schools on both sides of the state line were technically complete, but disputes with the HEW were not yet over. In July of 1973, the TASD Board received a letter from the department regarding the racial composition of the district’s teaching staff. The HEW’s letter is not included in the minutes, but the Board’s response refuses to adhere to a “racial quota employment practice arrangement whereby the race of a job applicant becomes more important than job qualifications” until “ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction.”110 Defending its employment practices, the Board assured its efforts towards staffing the schools “in such a manner that none of the schools are ‘racially identifiable.’” Similarly, in 1974 the TISD School Board received a letter from the HEW stating that its practiced desegregation plan was inadequate, despite having received a letter commending the same plan in 1969.111 The Board responded, saying it respectfully disagreed, citing the legality of the final system, as well as its success at providing “equal educational opportunities to all students in the District irrespective of race or ethnic origin.”112 No specific demographic information is available to justify or abjure the department’s concerns, and neither Board was contacted by the HEW again concerning their respective issues, but the lingering federal dissatisfaction with their practices is noteworthy.
The lengthy process of establishing Freedom of Choice and transitioning into fully desegregated school systems allowed time for students, teachers and the community at large to come to grips with the inevitability of integration. But the struggle to integrate the schools was only a prelude to the battle that began once it was accomplished.
PUBLIC REACTION TO SCHOOL DESEGREGATION
With integration came strong discontentment both within the schools and within the community. On the student level, racially motivated, large-scale fights were frequent, resulting in mass expulsions that disproportionally affected Black students. In Texarkana at large, a strong push for private education began gaining momentum, criticizing the public schools as social experiments. Even still, within the TISD Board, there were continued pushes for the abandonment of the desegregation plan in order to return to the earlier Freedom of Choice system. This continued pushback, even after the successful combination of the white and Black school systems on both sides of the state line, is further proof of the deep-set “tradition” of segregation and the vociferous outcry following its dismantling.
With integration came fighting. Not all students fought physically, but they all fought to establish their position in the new school hierarchy. When complaints regarding equal treatment in the classroom or extra-curricular activities fell on deaf ears, tensions came to a head and resulted in rioting.
I was able to kind of corral because a lot of the black students were a little rebellious because they felt like they were not being treated fair. And I came in and was very valuable because when the war was on and the riots was on, the white men who were teachers, they couldn’t touch the black kids because if they did they [the black students] fought them just like they did the white students. So I came in and was able to say, you know, “Hey guys, we’ve got some problems, but we’re not going to solve them fighting because when we fight we’re going to get put out of school.” So the first two or three years were very tumultuous, but after that we began to settle down. I think whites began to say, “Hey this ain’t going away. This is going to be.” And blacks [began to say] “We can’t go back, we’re gon’ be here.” But the first two or three years were very tumultuous in terms of physical confrontations and that kind of thing.113
Fights also opened up new discussions regarding school safety, and what constituted disturbing the peace. In October of 1969, the first semester of Arkansas High’s complete integration, violations worthy of expulsion were updated to include having a weapon at school, using vulgar language, disrespecting school personnel and provoking school disturbances.114 While, above all else, the clause regarding carrying weapons seems the most fitting justification for expulsion, the definition of weapon skewed the regulation more against Black students than white.
Black students at that time, their hairstyles were the afro. And they would go and get the K-cutters to comb their afros, but it became a weapon when they got ready…. When they got into [fights]… and those K-cutters, many of them have sharp prongs, became a weapon and so [the school] outlawed them, they could not bring them to school. But, the system sometimes is blind to what happened with the white kids. In our parking lots we had white kids with pick-up trucks with 30-30s [rifles] in the gun rack. At the school. And they didn’t say anything about that until I brought that to their attention. Now you have declared that the K-cutter is a weapon, and it is – it’s a hair tool when you brush your hair but when you fight it becomes a weapon, but there [are] kids that’s got 30-30s [rifles] in the gun rack – that’s a known weapon – and what are you going to do about that? “Well we didn’t know Mr. Nelson.” And I said well fine but, you know, over a period of time it finally settled down and they began to realize that black kids were worthy.115
The most well-documented altercation of this time period took place at Texas High School in February of 1971.116 The crowd began to gather before school began, with 500 to 600 students assembled before the tardy bell rang. After the bell, a fight broke out amongst the 200 remaining students. Black students gathered on “the hill” and white students gathered in the parking lot.
All the kids who ran out and fought at Texas High that day in the parking lot – they closed all the doors. Of course I’m inside, but they closed all the doors and everybody who got locked out was suspended. And I’m going to say this was in 1971, and of course it was a big city thing going on then because all of the important peoples in the school district or in the city got involved, especially because kids were getting expelled. For how long, I don’t know. Of course I didn’t get expelled, and that was… I got schooled by a lot of people who came and gave me their opinion about different things of what – they’re glad I didn’t go out and fought – and of course I heard my friends who [said] – ‘Where were you, man?’ and ‘You should’ve been out there!’ – and so of course I never was a fighter and didn’t believe in that. Mama didn’t raise us that way no way, and dad… We never [were] raised to hate.117
The fight garnered significant attention due to the mass expulsions that followed. 212 students were suspended following the episode, 175 of which were Black.118 Every student was given the opportunity to appear before the Board and defend their case. Those who did not appear were automatically suspended for the remainder of the semester. Of those who did come before the Board, only 14 were reinstated.119
The cause of the fight was linked to the Band Director Bob Ingram’s decision to reserve two majorette positions for Black students. Previously the majorettes had been all-white. The “lack of blacks as members of cheerleader and majorettes [sic] groups” was not a new issue. The failure of extra-curricular activities to incorporate Black students had caused increasing tensions since integration. Ingram’s announcement, and the white outcry that followed, finally brought this dynamic to a boil.120
Reactions from the fight reverberated throughout the community. There was a marked decrease in attendance of all public schools for several days. Black students filed police brutality charges against the officers who came to diffuse the situation. 121 Most notably, the following month “arsonists tried to destroy every Black Baptist church on both sides of the state line.”122 Three of the churches survived, but St. Paul’s Church was reduced to rubble. While the FBI was unable to determine who committed the crime, Black activists were believed to be at the helm. “The Baptist clergymen said they had incurred the wrath of Black activists for refusing to open their churches as temporary classrooms” to Black students that had been expelled from Texas High.123 The issue at hand was more than who could be a majorette, it was a question of community, loyalty, belonging and rights, both for students and citizens.
While the students fought, parents participated in demonstrations against integrated schools. Some protested by appearing at board meetings or at the schools themselves, others protested by removing their children from the public system altogether. The common thread throughout these actions was the desire of every parent to provide their child with the best possible education, and the fervent belief that integrated schools were unable to do so.
Gayle Brewington remembered her first year of teaching during the 1969-1970 school year, the first year of TISD elementary integration:
There were demonstrations around the school [Fifteenth Street Elementary]. The black neighborhood did not particularly want to welcome the whites. They were against bringing in all the white students. But the white adults would demonstrate around the building saying they were protecting their kids. They had knives. If I looked outside my window, there might be someone walking around the building with a knife or a gun. I don’t really know why that wasn’t stopped. I don’t remember if it was. I just remember it happening.124
Citing such violence as unacceptable and unending, some Texarkanians began to advocate for private education alternatives. The public schools were written off as a failing “social experiment” from which children should be removed.125 As a result of this push, a new private school, Liberty School (unaffiliated with Liberty of Liberty-Eylau ISD), was established to meet the demand. Texarkanian Dr. Mitchell Young became the National President of Freedom Inc., an organization that supported a return to the Freedom of Choice system by helping establish Liberty School and working to elect three pro-“Freedom of Choice” members to the TISD Board.126 He also advocated for enrollment in St. James Private Day School, which had been founded in 1948.
Advocacy for private school flight was pitched as being a way to ensure children were safe and well-educated, two securities that integration had rendered impossible in the public schools. Though its leaders repeatedly asserted “that Liberty School had not been formed as an escape tactic by parents to the HEW guidelines for local school integration,” the resulting body of students and staff emerged suspiciously white.
When asked how many black students the new private school had enrolled, headmistress Mrs. Henry Humphrey…. announced “none.” Said she: “I doubt very much” when asked whether Liberty Schools would hire any black teachers if they could meet qualifications. [Dr. Mitchell] Young, however, quickly pointed out, “Yes, they could,” when a reporter asked whether black students could enroll in the private school after passing entrance examinations. Mrs. Humphrey interjected that “A private school means no federal aid. There will be no bus service.”127
Likewise, parents who refused to accept integration wanted a return to the Freedom of Choice process so as to maintain a more segregated system through their choices. One letter to the editor of the Texarkana Daily News argued, “I haven’t left the public schools, they have left me.”
The white majority has not failed to obey, [they] have refused to accept a system that has proven in every instance to be harmful to all races concerned. The very least integration has done is that it has dropped the level of education to that of the uninterested student… The trend of campus unrest will continue until enough of our nation’s leaders realize the only solution is just exactly what George Wallace said: “separate but equal.”128
Even within the TISD Board, there were calls to return to the old ways. F. E. Fowler, Jr. and Glen Moses were elected members in April of 1969 to act as instruments of Freedom, Inc. and immediately began making motions to dismantle the integration system “in order to keep faith with the people who have elected us.”129 In April they moved to rescind the HEW-approved, integrated, unitary plan, but the motion was tabled.130 In July, Moses again moved to rescind the “desegregation plan and go freedom-of-choice for the 1969-70 school year,” but the motion was defeated.131 In August, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Whitten Amendments which forbade schools from assigning students to schools against the parent’s will and removed the impetus to bus students to better integrate schools. Citing this legislation, Moses and Fowler re-expressed their total support of the Freedom of Choice system, including a corroborating letter from Dr. Young detailing the failures of integrated schools.132 Such arguments resurged in October of 1969 and March of 1970, with constant motions to return to the former system. The complaints did not end until a frustrated Fowler resigned from the Board in September of 1970.133
Although no such a concerted effort to revoke plans of desegregation is documented in the TASD Board minutes, it is reasonable to believe that the separatist values that held so long in Texas were not absent in Arkansas. Unrest and discontent were present in every level of the school system, from the board and staff to parents and students. The violent outbursts were not independent events, but indicative of a deeply rooted frustration and resentment that accompanied the transition from two systems into one. There could be no hope for genuine integration of the student body until the school boards, and the community at large, decided to cooperate and move forward together.
Three major themes span the entirety of this history: the effect of integration on the Black community, the parallel difficulty of socially integrating the schools, and the inequality of facilities and financing. In exploring these motifs further, the deeper impact of integration can be better understood. School desegregation was not a simple matter. Even after the end goal was achieved, the system continued to harbor inequality. Understanding these aspects of the struggle reveals the necessity of the fight and the extent of the cost of victory.
Impact on the Black Community
The first of these themes is the disproportionate effect of desegregation on the Black community. Black schools were central to the neighborhoods they served, and provided generations of Black students with a solid educational foundation. In remembering Dunbar, Reverend Tony Patterson (THS ’69) referred to it as “the happiest times of [his] secondary school education.”
It was the place that my father had gone to school and graduated from, and my mother was a teacher there, a home economics teacher. And so it really meant quite a bit to me to be there in that atmosphere, and in that surrounding. It was something I had been looking forward to for most of my childhood life. I was just glad to be there, and that was something that was encouraged that you – in my particular family – would get an education and get a good education, and that is something that was… provided from Dunbar High School and graduating from Dunbar High School. In addition to that were all of the extracurricular activities that students could be involved in like sports and the band, cheerleading squads – those things that make up the high school and make the experience more enjoyable and fulfilling. And it was something that we also looked forward to, that I also looked forward to in being there. So that was a very very favorable experience and a part of my life.134
Although the inadequacy of facilities and funds allotted to the Black schools subordinated them to their white equivalents in many ways, their successful education of their students is undeniable. Dunbar and Washington High Schools served as focal points in their respective communities, providing basic educational needs but also serving as meeting places for the greater populations they served. A “Negro Boy’s Club” was constructed next to Washington High School in 1961, and in 1962 the high school began an adult education course in auto mechanics.135 Similarly, Prairie View College, now Prairie View A&M University, taught extension courses at Dunbar for Black teachers in Texarkana and nearby areas.136 Dunbar facilities also housed town hall meetings for the Texas side Black schools, where TISD Board members could receive suggestions and comments on proposed bond issues and school building needs.137 Thus, the schools were as central to the adult population of the community as they were to the students.
Being a small community allowed for parents and teachers to have close relationships that aided in the overall education of students. “When we went to Dunbar our parents knew those teachers, they knew those black teachers, they went to church with them and a lot of those teachers lived in our neighborhood,” Melva Flowers (THS ’70) remembered. “And if you didn’t do well in school or if you showed out or whatever, those teachers knew how to get in contact with your parents and let them know.”138 This accountability, of teachers both to parents and the community, provided students with a strong network of support and discipline. A network that bound the community together to provide its students with the very best education possible.
When the schools began to integrate, however, that sense of community lost its locus. One of the most tangible secessions was that of school mascots, colors and songs. “We were lions and then we were hogs. Our colors at Booker Washington were maroon and white and when we got to Arkansas High they were scarlet red and white,” Donald Nelson (WHS ’54) recalled. Washington High students even had to forfeit their school song and take up that of Arkansas High: Dixie. “Dixie represents a lot of great and wonderful things for a lot of people even today, but the black kids did not feel like it represented them very well,” Mr. Nelson stated.139 Dunbar too lost its independent identity, forfeiting the blue and gold Buffaloes for the orange and white Tigers. But the losses ran deeper than mascot affiliations and colors. Reverend Patterson described his senior year integration into Texas High School:
We lost our positions, we lost our… we lost our secondary school education identity if you will… when we had to go over there. Many of us were on the student council [at Dunbar]. When we went over there [to Texas High], we were no longer a part of student council where you had influence… I played football [at Dunbar] and – I was a good example – I was most likely and surely to be the starting quarterback the next year. Well when I got over there [to Texas High], I was on the football team, but I was relegated to a lower position. So I lost that, in other words. We had cheerleaders [at Dunbar, but] no [black] cheerleaders were on the cheerleading squad [at Texas High]… Band members… That’s what I mean when I said we lost. We lost our positions.140
This loss of position meant the loss of years of work within the Black schools, immediately setting the precedent that, regardless of former successes, Black students would not be incorporated into white organizations until they had proven their “merit”. Identities, founded in team affiliation and leadership positions, were eviscerated along with the schools that helped developed them.
Not only did students lose their identities during the transition, but many neighborhoods lost their schools altogether. In 1954, there were five Black elementary schools operating on the Arkansas side. By 1968, only one of them remained operating in any capacity.141 The eradication of these former community centers and bussing of children into white neighborhoods indicates the greater district’s beliefs that the schools which had previously served Black students were inadequate to accommodate an integrated population. On the Texas side, the shift was less severe, though only three of the original five Black elementary schools from 1951 were still operating in 1969.142 But before integrating and bussing white students into the former Black schools, they were all renamed. Dunbar became Southwest School, Jamison Elementary became Spruce Street, Goree (originally Newtown) became Lincoln Street, and Jones became Fifteenth Street.143 Members of the Goree and Jamison families approached the Board regarding the changes and were told the schools were being renamed to reflect their location, without associating the change with the upcoming integration.144
When Black students and teachers could no longer be legally discriminated against based on skin color, discrimination against other unique elements of the Black appearance were targeted. In 1970, the TASD School Board updated their dress code to ban afro hair styles exceeding eight inches in length, including the consideration that “that eight inches of a black’s hair will not stand out eight inches, but because of the curl and texture will seem much shorter.”145 Donald Nelson, a teacher during the integration period, remembered his afro being associated with Black militant groups. “Whites in the system were afraid of blacks who were different. As long as you assimilated and acted white and looked white, they understood you because you were like them. But when they grew afros and that kind of thing and they dressed different, it scared them to death.”146 The shedding of individual personhood was the price in order to “act and look white” and comply with school rules.
Though the Black community lost much in this transition, one important element of the Black school systems made the transition along with the students and staff. Beginning in 1969, Black history courses were initiated at Texas and Arkansas High Schools. “Negro History” was first taught at Texas High in 1969 as an elective course for seniors. The course “taught about races, nationalities, contributions, black culture, and black achievements,” and gave “many black students a sense of direction. They found out that many blacks made very important contributions to American society.”147 On the Arkansas side, although there is no record of how the subject was taught, an “elective course in Negro History” was approved by the Board in October that same year.148 The Board approved the purchase of The Negro in American Life by Mabel Morsbach as a Black History course textbook in 1973.149
The impact of integration on both the white and Black communities has undoubtedly had lasting positive, meaningful effects, but the education of the whole person did not immediately make the jump as Black students transitioned into the white schools.
When I was at Dunbar in the seventh grade and eighth grade and ninth grade, we had teachers that, when we had assemblies… There are things that you could say in an all black setting that you can’t say in a white setting, or an integrated setting. So they would take us when we’d have assembly and they would just lay it out on the line and tell us that if we wanted to be something, we could be something. And you had to say poems. One of my favorite poems is “I have to live with myself and so I want to be fit for myself to know. I have to be able as days go by, always to look myself straight in the eye; I don’t want to leave on a closet shelf a lot of secrets about myself, and fool myself into thinking that nobody knows the kind of person that I am.” So that’s one of the poems we had to learn. We had to learn “If I can keep my head all about me when others are losing…” We had those poems that we had to learn because not only were they interested in the academic part of your life, they wanted to build character… And my mom and dad used to tell me all the time that your word is your bond, and you know when you give your word, you need to keep your word. Those African American teachers, they taught us those things, too. And they reinforced the things that our black parents were telling us at home – that helped us to have strong characters, have strong values. To believe in yourself and to not let people – no matter what they said to you – keep you from dreaming big and accomplishing the goals that you wanted to accomplish.150
The cost for equal educational opportunity was high. Parent-teacher familiarity, hair styles, and positions on the student council, cheerleading squad, and football teams were forfeited for the sake of equality with white children. Nevertheless, the Black community made those sacrifices and entered the schools that had previously been closed to them. Brandishing textbooks to educate the new integrated student body about their race’s valuable contributions to society, they left what they knew to pursue what they knew they deserved.
The second theme consistent in this narrative is the difficult integration of sports and extra-curricular activities. When Dunbar and Washington merged with Texas and Arkansas, respectively, they forfeited their cheerleaders, football starters, student council leaders, band members and more and became members of a study body for which those offices were exclusively filled by white students. Central to the social integration of the school, the integration of extra-curricular activities was hard won and based on merit alone. Remembered by some as peaceful and others as excruciatingly exclusive, this period marked a greater acceptance of the new normal and commanded an introspective review of the importance of belonging in the school environment.
Alan Harris (THS, ’70), who played football his freshman year, remembered integration of the team in the years following his participation as being amicable, spearheaded by the strong leadership of the coaches.
I hate to point to Hollywood as… actually being historic, but the movie Remember the Titans is kind of the way it was at Texas High. You know, school boy football was the thing. It still is. Friday Night Lights is no exaggeration for Texarkana. So, you know in the beginning some of… the black guys who came over [from Dunbar] were really good football players… Their coach was a guy named Dan Haskins, and I never had a lot to do with [him], but… he was the right guy for the moment. He was nice to everybody, he was concerned about the student’s welfare, regardless of who they were, and he was the assistant coach. He was the head coach at Dunbar, but he became the assistant coach under Watty Myers at Texas High… [Sports,] that was one of the unifying things because football was such an important thing, so these guys came out… some of them were stars and really did a lot for us, for the team. That kind of built a camaraderie.151
Dan Haskins, who later went on to become the first (and, to this day, only) Black principal of Texas High School, had played football for Dunbar High School himself, later attending Prairie View A&M University on a football scholarship.152 He returned to Dunbar as a football coach in 1965, transferring to Texas High the first year of integration. “In 1968, when integration began and the doors of Dunbar High School were closed for the last time, I had an empty feeling and I felt somewhat selfish. At Dunbar, we had a winning football team and a good athletic program, and we had fine youngsters,” Haskins said in a 1975 interview with The Tiger.153 He was not alone in feeling sentimental about Dunbar’s closing, but he came to Texas High intent on ensuring those opportunities and that level of success were not lost in the chaos of integration.
In Arkansas, as in Texas, football reigned supreme – and a little more successful. Washington High won the title of “Negro Big Nine Conference Champions” in 1961, and Robert E. “Swede” Lee had a strong winning record as Arkansas High’s head coach from 1962-1965.154 Their independent successes took longer to marry within an integrated team, due in large part to rioting and discontentment surrounding the process.
We had a black student boycott at Arkansas High [in the early 1970s]. The kids walked out and stayed for a week. Took the football players also, and the football team lost the next six games. So that kind of got [the school’s] attention… When the boycott was over, they refused to let the black players come back, so they played the rest of the year with only three black players on the team. And they were three guys that did not help.155
Following this episode, the head coach was released, and Swede Lee, who had left Arkansas High in 1965, was re-hired as athletic director and head coach in March of 1973.156 Under his leadership, the team unified, boasting a 13-0 record and three consecutive AAA State Championship victories in 1973, 1974, and 1975.157 This success brought about newfound opportunity for students to find their place within the team, student body, community, and potentially a future university.
Many players, such as Ike Forte (THS, ’72), benefitted from the new educational opportunities that integrated sports had to offer. “At the all black school, most of the really good athletes – they could only get scholarships and [go] to all black colleges… what a blessing it was for me to go to Texas High and to be able to go to any university for a scholarship.”158 But this opportunity did not automatically accompany desegregation. Fears of exclusion and unfair treatment within various extra-curricular activities were ever present, and, in most cases, well-founded.
I was into sports [at Dunbar, before integration], so I heard a lot of the black guys saying they heard they wouldn’t get a chance to play [at Texas High] because [the] white coaches… didn’t like us coming over there. I didn’t see that with Watty Myers, because Watty Myers wanted to win. So he was going to put his best people he had on the field. I know we had some guys we looked up to who was juniors and seniors who was good football players, some of them didn’t play when they went to Texas High. Why? We don’t know. But we were just concerned about what we [were] doing at the junior high… All the cheerleaders was white. We did have one that was – I don’t know if she was standby – that was black. Now homecoming court was integrated, it had a black homecoming queen… Matter of fact, that happened two years that I can remember: my junior year and senior year. But my junior year the cheerleaders was all white. Of course the pep squad had some blacks in it, I remember that. Student Council was all white… I don’t remember, even being a senior, that we had any student council [members] that was black. But when they did the most handsome [elections], they had a black and white, most beautiful had a black and white, you know, stuff like that. Which, I guess that would be… the way to do it because… we saw beauty and saw things differently.159
The majority whiteness of the cheerleading team and student council continued for several decades. While football slowly self-integrated based upon merit and objective talent, teams with more subjective standards required legislation of racial quotas to ensure that Black and white students had equal opportunities for involvement.
I had one or two white teachers to tell me, “You don’t have black cheerleaders, black majorettes, black officers because the kids haven’t proven themselves.” I said, “Is that right?” I said, “I can name you five white kids who are in positions that didn’t prove themselves, but they are there because they are popular and they come from the right homes.” So… You know, we had to get past that.160
In 1971, The TISD school board passed new requirements for cheerleading, majorette and mascot try-outs. None of the requirements dictated a racial quota for the selected members, but it was specified that half of the judges for each team’s auditions must be Black.161 It wasn’t until 1973 that quotas were extended to the teams. Of the 10 varsity cheerleading positions, two were reserved for Black students.162 Similar requirements were added to Arkansas High’s cheerleading regulations in 1975, mandating that 3 positions within the 10 member squad be reserved for Black candidates.163 Nancy Tullos, the Texas High cheerleading sponsor from 1969-1978, said “it was almost impossible for blacks to get elected at times because they were the minority. We decided to have this policy say that two blacks would get it [elected], no matter what. But everytime [sic] we went back and looked at the actual votes, they would have gotten it everytime [sic].”164 While this allotment ensured Black students had opportunity for involvement, it was accompanied by another modification: a four point decrease in candidate required grade average. The following month, the Board heard complaints from several students regarding these changes. The complainants included Christal Hearon, who was opposed to the required grade change. She told the Board, “It makes us black girls look dumb when grades are lowered just for us. We can make the grades and not insult the blacks.”165 No modifications were made to the original decision.
Melva Flowers (THS, ’70), who transferred to Texas High as a tenth grader in 1967 under the Freedom of Choice system, remembered being accepted into the pep squad but felt she had a lesser chance of becoming a cheerleader at Texas High than at Dunbar:
I was one of the first [to integrate the pep squad] in the tenth grade. Another lady by the name of Paula Wilcox… her maiden name was Wilcox. She and I were the first two African Americans to integrate the pep squad. And we were well accepted in the pep squad, I don’t remember any discrimination…. They treated us nice, we went out of town to football games, I have no unpleasant memories at all while we were there…. We brought a lot of the cheers from Dunbar, from the African American community into Texas High, [and] they accepted our cheers and all that… It was not a social challenge for us at Texas High when I was in the tenth grade…. I was in the pep squad, but I probably would have been in the student council and I may even have been able to be a cheerleader [if I had stayed at Dunbar]. But that was – you know I was not going to be able to do that at Texas High, the competition was too steep and all that.166
This internal psychological barrier, illustrated by the belief that a cheerleading position was unattainable at Texas High but a possibility at Dunbar, was just as damaging as the external barriers imposed upon Black students. Such barriers allowed the whiteness of leadership organizations to continue for decades.
Within the sphere of student government, equal representation was both more necessary and more slowly enacted. By 1972, four years after total integration, there were still no Black students on the Texas High student council.167 Arkansas High faced similar issues, but under Donald Nelson (WHS, ’54), a new type of council was convened to rectify the injustice:
We convened a biracial council. I was assistant principal, the principal at that time was not in favor. He said, ‘Let the student council do that.’ I said, ‘The student council doesn’t represent the black kids.’ Because at that time, you didn’t have any black kids on the student council, and no poor white kids. The only kids who were on the student council were the kids who were well-to-do… so the poor white kids and the blacks were left out, and I said that won’t fly. So we established what we called a biracial council, having two representatives, two blacks and two whites, from grades 10, 11 and 12…And, oddly enough, the white kids who were on that council were fair. They just simply said ‘we understand what’s going on’ and a couple of football players said, ‘Hey, we understand that totally,’ and decisions were made at that time – Texas High already, I think the year or so before, they had three black cheerleaders on their cheerleading squad. We had none at that time – and so we said, well let’s look at that system. So the next year we came up with black cheerleaders and black majorettes and from that point on, as time went by, black presidents of the student council, black officers….168
The slow, unwavering efforts of Black students and administrators to integrate every aspect of student life helped unify the student body through cooperation and camaraderie. In building community together, each race had a greater opportunity to understand the other. “The only time blacks really associated with the whites after school was at school-related activities, such as football games. The blacks and whites sat together,” Melva Flowers remembered.169 This increase in community allowed students on both sides of the state line to come together through celebrations and competitions central to community life and to redefine what it meant to be Tigers and Razorbacks.
Facilities and Financing
The final theme is the inequality of facilities and financing between the white and Black school systems. This issue predated the question of integration and served as an impetus for its eventual enactment. Inequality of funding affected supplies and support which in turn affected the overall education of students and their preparedness for life after graduation. Within the Black school systems, buildings were usually older, with inferior supplies and maintenance. The white school systems, in contrast, had newer buildings and first-rate books and uniforms. These differences were a testament to the different valuations the boards placed on the schools, which in turn affected how students felt valued by the community at large.
Within TISD, inequality was somewhat rectified by construction of new facilities. In 1955, the Texas Senior High School building was still the original construction from 1910, whereas Dunbar High School had been rebuilt relatively recently in 1953.170
Dunbar was actually a newer school, a much newer school than [Texas High on] Pine Street was. As I recall it was air conditioned, and we were in a building that was built about 1912 and we were cooled by box fans and things like that [at Texas High].171
In addition to Dunbar, two other Black school buildings were built on the Texas side between 1947 and 1955.172 But this newness was not a constant across all facilities. Two of the Black elementary schools, Newtown and Sunset, still did not have cafeterias in 1955.173 As late as 1958, Newtown and Sunset were not fully heated.174 Despite its newness, Dunbar had no grass surrounding the school, with “water standing in pools in front of the building” and “cars having to park in mud and water.”175 Sunset Elementary School suffered severe fire damage, but remained in use for over a year before the TISD Board began accepting bids for its reconstruction.176
There is less record of such an explicit disparity on the Arkansas side, but the evidence that is present shows there was no less inequality. The Hervey school was subject to flooding, due to poor drainage.177 Washington High’s football field did not have a program clock.178 The roof of the Mandeville school had to be replaced in 1956.179 That same year, when cost estimates showed that some of the anticipated building programs would have to be cut, the TASD board voted to improve the Senior High School, North Heights Elementary, Fairview Elementary, College Hill Elementary, and the Junior High School (all white facilities) before making improvements to Orr Elementary, the only Black school considered for renovations.180
While both school boards consistently approved measures for school improvements and renovations, their efforts were unequal. In 1958, the TISD Board had a Visitation Committee appraise every school in the district and report repair needs. Later, divided into groups based upon race, the “colored visitation committee” and the “white visitation committee” were separately asked to rank the necessary projects based on importance and urgency.181 The white committee ranked all projects specifically for Black schools in the bottom half of their rankings, while the Black committee ranked all projects for the Black schools in the top half.182 Later, when monetary values were attributed to the required repairs, $2,030,150 was deemed necessary. From this sum, $235,500 was allotted to the Black schools, averaging $78,500 per renovated school, and $1,474,650 was allotted to the white schools, averaging $210,664 per renovated school.183
As motions regarding the improvement of Black schools increased in magnitude following Brown, the TISD Board also increased the detail of their descriptions and assertions of improvement.
The members of the [TISD] Board of Education were congratulated by Supt. Howard for enriching the Negro school program and broadening its scope of services. He pointed out that proper framework would be put into motion to accomplish this objective. An administrative arrangement could now be perfected to bring about and install a new feature of the education program for the Negro Schools by adding counseling and guidance services. The Board of education previously enriched the Negro School’s education program by adding a Visiting Teacher, a Physical Education Supervisor, and installing a Special Education Program by inaugurating the phase of Speech therapy for the school year 1951-51; adding the testing and Supervisory Program for the school year 1952-53; adding another phase of the Special Education Program, a Unit for the Mentally Retarded for the school year 1954-55; and further enriched the Negro education program by adding a School Nurse for the 1955-56 school year.184
While these improvements were beneficial for Black students, the Board’s self-congratulatory tone suggests victory where structural equality was only beginning to be born. As federal pressures to desegregate increased, additional improvements were made to the Black school facilities to bolster the appearance of equality. TISD board minutes frequently listed ways in which the Black schools had been improved, followed by statements such as “from all reports, the Colored citizens recognize the problem [of fewer offered courses] and appreciate the efforts being made to solve it.”185
The Negro parent-population of the Texarkana Independent School District is happy and contented in their current educational environment and will continue to live a peaceful and happy school life, it is hoped, by sending their children to schools in their own [neighborhoods] where their educational opportunities are richer, as long as the parents have genuine educational concern at heart for their children. The Negro teachers and Negro principals have this same attitude and thought and desire to see the Negro schools of Texarkana Independent School District are superior in most every respect to the average Negro school.186
While the general sentiments expressed in these statements may be accurate, it is noteworthy that the increase in attention to such improvements and inclusion of assertions pertaining to their positive community reception first began to appear during this time.
Aside from the physical quality of the buildings themselves, the inequality in curriculum and offered programs were an area in which even greater improvements needed to be made.
The [TISD] Board gave considerable discussion to the welfare of the testing and guidance program inaugurated for the Negro Schools. A compiled summary report presenting White and Negro comparisons on achievement tests and on mental maturity tests was thoroughly studied by the Board. The Board is greatly concerned about the wide gap of differences in this instance and is continuing its thinking and study on how to improve the Negro program of education. The Board of Education has provided new buildings with increased facilities for the Negroes; has broadened the scope of the curriculum and has enriched the curriculum for the Negroes; and has added the services of a testing and guidance specialist to give continued direction to the on-going Negro education program. Motion was made by Mr. Williams with second by Mr. Jones continuing for the Negroes the testing and guidance program as directed and administered by Mr. Bone, Director of guidance for the Texarkana Independent School District. Carried.187
The Board “broadened the scope of the curriculum” by including “an additional Homemaking Unit; by increasing the Distributive Education Program from a one-half unit to a three-fourths unit; and by installing a Physical Education Program,” none of which impacted core curriculum subjects.188 The deeper issues behind the discrepancies in test results are paralleled by quantity and quality of textbooks supplied to each school. When the TISD Board placed orders for the 1956-1957 school year, the white schools received 21 new sets of textbooks, whereas the Black schools only received 12 new sets of textbooks.189 The majority of books the Black schools did receive were hand-me-downs from the white schools, a fact not lost on the students who received them. Reverend Tony Patterson (THS ’69) remembered, “They would provide the books for the grade levels during the elementary experience, and I guess during the high school experience… There were some new books in there but the majority of them were used and signed… We did kind of notice that.”190 These differences in educational materials culminated in differences in how prepared students felt for the collegiate level. In 1958, 51 students from Texas High School took tests for admission to the University of Texas at Austin, compared to only 16 students from Dunbar High School.191
While less information is available regarding testing and materials within the TASD minutes, there is one department in which inequality is addressed: the library. In 1961, the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges set new regulations pertaining to the “number of volumes and annual expenditure required for member school libraries.”192 Arkansas High School, with an enrollment of 747 students, was required to have 4,488 volumes. They were short by 742. Washington High School, with an enrollment of 760 students, was required to have 4,540 volumes. They were short by 2,427.
Though the segregated school system operated under the guise of equality, these specific instances prove how impossible “separate but equal” truly was, independent of the ethics behind the phrase. From the superior funding allotted to white facilities to the hand-me-down materials given to the Black schools, the infrastructures of the two systems were incomparable. These differences affected students’ futures, the futures of their children and so on. More than updated books, integration provided Black students with the same opportunities as their white peers, which was critical in the pursuit of social equality.
These themes go beyond buildings, books, sports teams and neighborhoods. They showcase the savage inequalities present before and after integration and the pains taken to rectify them. In the midst of the technicalities of the people and plans that slowly brought desegregation about, the intrinsic value of the pursuit, and what was lost to achieve it, cannot be forgotten. The students who lived through this time do not remember the many amendments to the integration plan or the minutiae of the HEW’s requirements. They remember having hand-me-down books, exclusion from sports teams, leaving schools within their own neighborhoods and being bussed across town, losing teachers that knew their parents, and fighting for a sense of belonging in their new environment. These are the elements of the story that cannot be forgotten to ensure they are not repeated.
By isolating the transition from segregation to integration within this community biography, the impacts of slavery, de jure segregation, de facto segregation and pervasive racism are easily recognized. This narrative provides a canvas upon which deeper conclusions can be drawn: why this history matters, how the community was impacted then, and how it is still impacted today.
This particular history matters because it illustrates the systematic efforts of the schools, community and local government to perpetuate the segregated school system. The rhetoric used to justify delaying integration is a case study in might versus right. Cities such as Texarkana feared the slow chipping away of the “tradition” they had built their lives upon, and segregation was one such tradition that was hard to give up. Texarkana’s history is not important because it is unique, but rather because it is not. In remembering how Americans delayed and defied school integration and the reverberating impacts of that decision, we can ensure that such grievances are not repeated.
In looking at the impact of school integration as it occurred, the strongest theme is community: its division, loss and ultimate attempts to rebuild. The sociological principal of homophily states that individuals tend to associate with others similar to them. From its roots in slavery, Texarkana was established as a society that inherently believed different races could not coexist equally. Community was found in schools, neighborhoods and churches that were racially homogeneous. But with integration, comfort and belonging were lost as prejudices were confronted. The fight to find community within the new order forced Black and white students to find a new basis of homophily other than the color of their skin.
The greatest modern impact of school desegregation is undoubtedly the opportunity it provided all students to learn together. While racism is by no means a thing of the past, the co-education of children regardless of race has helped foster greater empathy. Students’ educational potentials are no longer dependent upon their skin color, but rather on effort and merit. But to cite integration as an instant cure to racial inequality would be ignorant.
Public education is the primary, if not only, vehicle by which the American dream can be achieved. Injustices within this system must be remembered because their ramifications can poison generations upon generations. Children in Texarkana schools today have never known segregated schools, but their grandparents and great-grandparents did. Until Advanced Placement course enrollment and total school enrollment have identical racial demographics, equal opportunity within schools will only be an exterior illusion.
This history should serve as a reminder of the injuries caused by segregated schooling until its eradication in 1969 and by the fallout surrounding integration. The educational, psychological and relational damages caused by the system cannot be forgotten. In the words of Donald Nelson, “If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to die from it.”193
This project would not have been possible without the support of my supervisors, Dr. George Christian and Dr. Shannon Cavanagh, who guided and challenged me throughout the research and writing processes. I am beyond grateful for their time, advice, and willingness to share their expertise.
I am also incredibly grateful to the following: Vivian Osborne for her hours of help going through newspaper archives; Connie Brian for her help in locating photos and other research materials; the staff of the TISD and TASD main offices for their kindness as I reviewed school board minutes, especially Tina Veal-Gooch and Gayle Hayle for their help and support; and journalists Russell McDermott and Jim Presley for their help in locating archived articles and finding other research materials.
Most importantly, my research would have been incomplete without the former students and teachers who generously shared their time and memories with me and allowed their experiences to add to my research. Thank you to Donald Nelson, Melva Flowers, Gerald Brooks, Gayle Brewington, Charles Parks, Ike Forte, Alan Harris, and Reverend Tony Patterson.
 Throughout this paper, the South, when capitalized, refers to the former Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
 Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
 “Texas High School.” TheTexasTribune.com. https://schools.texastribune.org/districts/texarkana-isd/texas-high-school/ (accessed March 10, 2019).
 These districts are referred to as TASD and TISD, or Arkansas side and Texas side, to distinguish between the two.
 Forte, Ike. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Texarkana, Texas. January 17, 2019. Full interview in Appendix XIX.
 “Texarkana, Texas.” Tshaonline.org. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hdt02 (accessed February 20, 2019).
 “Bowie County.” Tshaonline.org. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcb11 (accessed February 20, 2019).
 “Slavery.” Encyclopediaofarkansas.net. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1275 (accessed February 20, 2019).
 “History of Texarkana.” Texarkana.org. https://texarkana.org/around-texarkana/history-of-texarkana/ (accessed February 20, 2019).
 Texarkana Arkansas School District No. 7 Board Meeting Minutes, April 13, 1954. TASD Archives, Texarkana, Arkansas.
 Texarkana Independent School District Board Meeting Minutes, August 16, 1955. TISD Archives, Texarkana, Texas.
 Patterson, Rev. Tony. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Phone call. January 22, 2019. Full interview in Appendix XX.
 Presley, Fran. “Shampoos and Segregation.” The Texas Observer, November 27, 1964. Online Print Archive. https://archives.texasobserver.org/
 Presley, Fran. “Three Women in a Country Washateria.” The Texas Observer, January 10, 1969. Online Print Archive. https://archives.texasobserver.org/
 Presley, Fran. “East Texas.” The Texas Observer, April 26, 1968. Online Print Archive. https://archives.texasobserver.org/
 Presley, James. “Selma’s Sheriff in Texarkana.” The Texas Observer, August 6, 1965. Online Print Archive. https://archives.texasobserver.org/
 Presley, James. “After the Riot.” The Texas Observer, August 21, 1964. Online Print Archive. https://archives.texasobserver.org/
 Brantley, Janet G., and Beverly J. Rowe. Texarkana College: The First 75 Years, 1927-2002.
 Brantley, Texarkana College.
 Associated Press. “Negroes Win on Appeal Court Reverses Ruling Barring Entrance to Texas College.” New York Times, November 27, 1955.
 Whitmore v. Stilwell, 227 F.2d 187 (5th Cir. 1955).
 Whitmore v. Stilwell, 227 F.2d 187 (5th Cir. 1955).
 Rinearson, Robert. “Segregationist Sentenced to One Year in Prison.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 1, 1956. Print.
 Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
 Mundella, Bob. “Whites Bar Negroes from College: Texas Rangers Join Bowie Sheriff in Keeping Order.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 11, 1956.
 Mundella, “Whites Bar Negroes from College.”
 Associated Press. “Texas Mob Stops Negro Students.” The New York Times, September 11, 1956. Online Print Archive.
 Mundella, “Whites Bar Negroes from College.”
 “Editorial Comment: Integration and the Texarkana College.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 12, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 Sokolsky, George E. “These Days: The Supreme Court.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 11, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Texarkana College Scene Quiet When No Negroes Try To Enter.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 12, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Editorial Comment: Stilwell and the NAACP.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 16, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “NAACP Takes New Step in Getting Negroes Into TC: U. Simpson Tate Files Motion for Intervention for Students.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 15, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “NAACP Takes New Step in Getting Negroes Into TC.”
 “Editorial Comment: Stilwell and the NAACP.”
 “In Connection With Integration: Texarkana College President Not Worried About Contempt Charge.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 19, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 Kellum, B.F. “Local College Officials May Get Contempt Charge.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 27, 1956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Stilwell Hails Victory in Court Over NAACP: Texas Attorney General Will Continue Fight in State Court.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), September 28, 2956. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Stilwell Hails Victory in Court Over NAACP.”
 “Texas v. the NAACP.” The Crisis at Mansfield, accessed November 20, 2018. https://mansfieldcrisis.omeka.net/exhibits/show/naacp-texas/texas-v-naacp.
 “Stilwell Hails Victory in Court Over NAACP.”
 “Texas v. the NAACP.”
 “Texas v. the NAACP.”
 Frailey, F. W. & Woosley, Joe. “Cross Burned, March Staged in Texarkana.” The Daily News-Telegram (Sulphur Springs, Tex.), Vol. 85, No. 139, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 13, 1963, newspaper, June 13, 1963; Sulphur Springs, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth828059/: accessed December 6, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hopkins County Genealogical Society.
 “Two Negro Girls Enroll At College.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), June 13, 1963. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Downtown Texarkana: Police Break Up Demonstration.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), June 13, 1963. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Editorial Comment: The Sensible And Reasonable Majority Must Take Charge.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), June 15, 1963. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Editorial Comment: No Time for Juvenile Escapades.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), June 15, 1963. Texarkana College Archive.
 Texarkana College. The Bulldog (Texarkana, TX: 1964), Texarkana College Archives.
 Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989, p. 27.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, April 7, 1973.
 “Interpreting the News: Only Time Will Show Whether Supreme Court Moved Wisely.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), May 18, 1954. Texarkana College Archive.
 “PUBLIC SCHOOL SEGREGATION BANNED: Texarkana’s Reaction to High Court’s Racial Decision Mixed.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), May 18, 1954. Texarkana College Archive. Full text in Appendix I.
 “Texarkana’s Reaction to High Court’s Racial Decision Mixed.”
 “Editorial: The Supreme Court Speaks.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), May 18, 1954. Texarkana College Archive.
 Nelson, Donald. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Texarkana, Arkansas. January 8, 2019. Full transcript in Appendix XVII.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, June 28, 1955.
 Brantley, Texarkana College.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 4, 1955. Full text in Appendix III.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, September 19, 1955. Full text in Appendix III.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, September 19, 1955. Full text in Appendix III.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 7, 1956.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, January 28, 1957.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 13, 1957. Full text in Appendix IV.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, April 19, 1960.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, August 30, 1963. Full text in Appendix VI.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, September 3, 1963. Full text in Appendix VII.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, September 23, 1963.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, May 19, 1964. Full transcripts of each version of the plan are in Appendix VIII.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, February 24, 1964. Full text in Appendix IX.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, February 24, 1964. Full text in Appendix IX.
 United States. Civil Rights Acts of 1964. Washington; U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1969.
 “Desegregation Rules.” In CQ Almanac 1966, 22nd ed., 477-81. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1967. http://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/cqal66-1301831.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, August 10, 1964.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, April 11, 1966.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, May 16, 1968. Full text in Appendix X.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, July 15, 1969. Full text in Appendix XI.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, July 15, 1969. Full text in Appendix XI includes demographic statistics.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, April 12, 1965.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, October 25, 1965.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, February 28, 1966.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, June 26, 1968. Full text in Appendix XII.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, January 12, 1970.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, June 22, 1970. Full text in Appendix XIII.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, June 10, 1973.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, May 6, 1974.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, October 10, 1969.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 26, 27 & 28, 1971. Full text in Appendix XIV.
 Forte, Ike. Personal interview.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 21, 1971.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 26, 27 & 28, 1971. Full text in Appendix XIV.
 “At Texas High: Individual Hearings Set for Suspended Students.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A), February 19, 1971. Texarkana College Archive.
 “Police Brutality Charge Levied by Black Students.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A), February 18, 1971. Texarkana College Archive.
 Bigart, Homer. “Burned Churches Rebuilt in Texas.” The New York Times (New York City, N.Y), June 21, 1971. Online Archive, accessed January 1, 2019.
 Brewington, Gayle and Charles Parks. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Texarkana, Texas. January 18, 2019. Full interview in Appendix XVI.
 “Young Says Enroll In Private Schools.” Texarkana Daily News (Texarkana, U.S.A), August 27, 1969. Texarkana College Archive.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 18, 1969.
 “Editor’s Mailbox.” Texarkana Gazette (Texarkana, U.S.A.), June 6, 1968. Texarkana College Archive.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, April 10, 1969.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, July 1, 1969.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August, 18, 1969.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, September 15, 1970. Ibid.27.gh Comment: Stille 13, able. to add to my researcht the students and teachers who generously gaev
 Patterson, Rev. Tony. Personal interview.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, July 24, 1961 and October 22, 1962.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, November 15, 1955.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, April 21, 1959.
 Flowers, Melva. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Phone call. February 9, 2019. Full interview in Appendix XVIII.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 Patterson, Rev. Tony. Personal interview.
 Texarkana Independent School District Board Meeting Minutes. See Timeline of TISD Schools.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, June 19, 1969. Full text in Appendix XI.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, July 15, 1969. Full text in Appendix XI.
TASD Board Meeting Minutes, December 14, 1970.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 Patel, Pratima. “Some Effects of Integration on Curriculum at THS.” Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989. p. 183-185.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, October 27, 1969.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, July 9, 1973.
 Flowers, Melva. Personal interview.
 Harris, Alan. Interviewed by Katherine Doan. Personal interview. Phone call. February 3, 2019. Full interview in Appendix XV.
 Maxwell, Charmyan Marquell. “Principal Maintained Harmony at Texas High: Mr. Dan Haskins.” Excerpt from The Tiger, 1975. Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989. p. 208.
 Maxwell. “Principal Maintained Harmony at Texas High: Mr. Dan Haskins.”
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, November 27, 1961, February 26, 1962, and February 13, 1965.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 “Robert E. ‘Swede’ Lee.” HogAlumni.com. http://www.hogalumni.com/athletics/swede_lee.html (accessed 12 March 2019).
 Forte, Ike. Personal interview.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, March 16, 1971.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, March 27, 1973.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, July 14, 1975.
 Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989. p. 444
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, April 17, 1973.
 Flowers, Melva. Personal interview.
 Forte, Ike. Personal interview.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal Interview.
 Prisner, Drew. “1970-1971: A Year to Remember.” Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989. p. 771
 Pages from the Past: A History of Texas High School 1889-1989. p. 19
 Harris, Alan. Personal interview.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 16, 1955. Full text in Appendix II.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, November 18, 1958.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 21, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, September 12, 1956.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, January 27, 1958.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, August 24, 1959.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, February 9, 1956.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, February 6, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, May 15, 1958. Full text in Appendix V.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 7, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 7, 1956 & August 13, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 7, 1956 & August 13, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, October 16, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, August 7, 1956.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, December 13, 1955.
 Patterson, Rev. Tony. Personal interview.
 TISD Board Meeting Minutes, February 25, 1958.
 TASD Board Meeting Minutes, January 23, 1961.
 Nelson, Donald. Personal interview.