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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 The status of school desegregation in Texas is described as “remarkably quiet.” Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth continue to be segregated with integration lawsuits pending. [“Integration: It’s Slow, ‘Remarkably Quiet,’” c. 1957]
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts University of Texas student Barbara Smith (today Barbara Smith Conrad) is removed from the lead role in the opera “Dido and Aeneas” because she is black. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (1) -University of Texas; The Austin American, “In U.T. Opera Role: Negro Silent About Ouster,” May 8, 1957]
Local desegregation facts Integration of Austin’s junior high schools is postponed again due to overcrowding. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1950s; The Austin Statesman, “Crowed Schools Delay Junior High Integration: Board Postpones Act Until Situation Eases,” June 11, 1957]