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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


Local desegregation facts Follow this link to Austin History Center photograph AS-61-30610-3 The Texas, Varsity, Paramount and State Theaters are targets of stand-ins by segregationists. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin American, “450 Protest at Theaters,” February 13, 1961]
Local desegregation facts Rev. Buck, a priest in charge of St. James Episcopal Church, carried a sign stating: “The segregation policy of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is unfair to Negro Episcopals. Do not support segregation.” [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin Statesman, “Pickets Walk in Front of Episcopal School,” April 20, 1961]
Local desegregation facts The sixth grade of the Austin Public Schools integrates in September for the first time. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin American, “6th Grade Integration Approved,” July 11, 1961]
Local desegregation facts Five hundred African American students are eligible to transfer to white schools as a result of the Austin ISD Board of Education’s decision to continue its desegregation policy into the elementary schools. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin Statesman, “500 Negro 6th Graders Can Enter White Schools,” July 11, 1961]
Local desegregation facts The Texas and Varsity Theaters located on the Drag near The University of Texas campus integrate under a newly adopted integration policy. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin Statesman, “2 Theaters Integrated For Students,” September 05, 1961]