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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


National desegregation facts The Civil Rights Act of 1964 “enforces the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.” [ infousa/laws/majorlaw/civilr19.htm]
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts The University of Texas Board of Regents removes the last vestige of segregation on campus when it voted 6-1 to desegregate dormitories. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (1)-University of Texas; The Daily Texan, “Regents Drop Dormitory Segregation; University Becomes Totally Integrated,” May 17, 1964]
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts Mrs. Cora Eiland Hicks, who in 1953 became the first African American to hold a position higher than a clerk at The University of Texas, is appointed to the University faculty as a teaching assistant in the English Department. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (1) -University of Texas; The Texas Observer, “UT Promotes Negro Woman to Faculty,” June 09, 1964]
University of Texas at Austin (UT) facts Dr. Ervin Sewell Perry (1935-1970) becomes the first African American to be appointed to the faculty of a previously all-white southern university when he begins teaching at The University of Texas at Austin in September. He is appointed to the position of assistant professor of engineering. [The Austin American, “First Negro Professor at UT Dies At Age 34,” December 15, 1970;]
Local desegregation facts Three African American teachers integrate for the first time the faculty of two Austin high schools. William Akins, world history teacher, integrates Johnston High School; B.T. Snell, seventh grade English and social studies, along with English teacher Narveline Drennan, integrate Allan Junior High School. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1960s; The Austin American, “Austin Faculty Is Integrated,” September 11, 1964]