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Desegregation in Austin

Five Decades of Social Change: A Timeline

This web project presents an annotated chronology of major events in the desegregation of Austin, Texas, from 1940 to 1980 as they appeared in local newspapers and other materials such as the Austin Files (AF) in the archives at the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. The timeline is intended as a guide to key events necessary for an understanding of this extraordinary time in the city’s history.



Local African American firsts Local African American firsts
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts
Local desegregation facts Local desegregation facts
Statewide desegregation facts Statewide desegregation facts
National desegregation facts National desegregation facts

Note: The Austin American-Statesman newspaper had several name changes over the five decades covered in this timeline. The variations reflect usage for that time—Austin Statesman, The Austin Statesman, The Austin-Statesman, The Austin American, The Austin American-Statesman, American Statesman, The American-Statesman, Austin American-Statesman.

overview | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | all


Statewide desegregation facts On June 7, the United States Supreme Court and the Texas Supreme Court upheld and supported the constitutional rights of African American teenagers to attend Mansfield High School. On August 27, the Federal District Court ordered Mansfield ISD to “immediately integrate the high school.” [Ladino, Robyn Duff, Desegregating Texas Schools: Eisenhower, Shivers, and the Crisis at Mansfield High. 1997]
Local desegregation facts Travis County attorney dismisses test case challenging segregated busses in Texas. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1950s; The Austin American, “Austin Bus Test Case Dismissed,” February 14, 1956]
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts The University of Texas’s Inter-Co-op Council voted unanimously to accept African American students in cooperative housing. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (1) -University of Texas; The Austin Statesman, “UT CO-OP Council Votes Integration: Negroes Acceptable In Housing,” March 07, 1956]
Local desegregation facts Because of the fire at Allan Junior High School, the desegregation of Austin’s junior high schools is delayed for a year. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1950s; The Austin Statesman, “Junior High Segregation To Continue Next Year,” May 15, 1956]
Local desegregation facts Thirteen African American students become the first to integrate Austin’s high schools-seven at Stephen F. Austin High; five at William B. Travis High; and one at A.N. McCallum High. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1950s; The Austin Statesman, “3 High Schools Get 13 Negroes,” September 2, 1955]