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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 The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare grants Austin ISD half a million dollars to assist in desegregation efforts that will “eliminate, reduce or prevent minority group isolation.” [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; Austin American-Statesman, “AISD To Get Federal Grant For Desegregation Efforts,” February 24, 1973]
Local desegregation facts Austin ISD Board approves a plan that proposes to request over half a million dollars from Emergency School Assistance Act funds to implement an Austin ISD plan that deals with the isolation of minority students. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; The Austin American, “Austin Trustees Approve Plan On District Desegregation,” April 26, 1973]
Local desegregation facts Austin ISD again faces charges of discrimination in district court when the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns District Judge Jack Roberts’ original decision that “no discrimination against Mexican Americans existed in Austin.” [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; The Daily Texan, “AISD Faces Charges Again,” May 07, 1973]
Local desegregation facts The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund presents a study in the Austin school desegregation case that indicates that the restrictive covenants that have existed in the city from 1923-1960 contributed to the racially segregated housing patterns in the city. Although no longer legal, the covenants historically have “disallowed total freedom of choice in the area of residential site selection.” [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; Austin American-Statesman, “Housing Pattern Linked to Deeds,” May 12, 1973]
Local desegregation facts Austin sixth graders will attend one of eight specially integrated centers that represent the heart of a school desegregation plan filed by the Austin ISD in District Court. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; The Austin American, “Okayed School Plan Centers On Integrating 6th Graders,” August 02, 1973]
Local desegregation facts Parents from two prospective sixth-grade schools submitted alternative desegregation plans to Austin ISD Board of Trustees, which will keep their schools grades kindergarten through five. [AF-Segregation-Public Schools-S1700 (2)-1973; Austin American-Statesman, “Sixth Graders’ Parents Give Alternate Desegregation Plan,” August 12, 1973]