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Integrating the 40 Acres

Integrating the 40 Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas

Dwonna Goldstone
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Integrating the 40 Acres
    Book Description:

    You name it, we can't do it. That was how one African American student at the University of Texas at Austin summed up his experiences in a 1960 newspaper article--some ten years after the beginning of court-mandated desegregation at the school. In this first full-length history of the university's desegregation, Dwonna Goldstone examines how, for decades, administrators only gradually undid the most visible signs of formal segregation while putting their greatest efforts into preventing true racial integration. In response to the 1956 Board of Regents decision to admit African American undergraduates, for example, the dean of students and the director of the student activities center stopped scheduling dances to prevent racial intermingling in a social setting. Goldstone's coverage ranges from the 1950 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the University of Texas School of Law had to admit Heman Sweatt, an African American, through the 1994 Hopwood v. Texas decision, which ended affirmative action in the state's public institutions of higher education. She draws on oral histories, university documents, and newspaper accounts to detail how the university moved from open discrimination to foot-dragging acceptance to mixed successes in the integration of athletics, classrooms, dormitories, extracurricular activities, and student recruitment. Goldstone incorporates not only the perspectives of university administrators, students, alumni, and donors, but also voices from all sides of the civil rights movement at the local and national level. This instructive story of power, race, money, and politics remains relevant to the modern university and the continuing question about what it means to be integrated.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4203-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    For many of Texas’s African American (and Mexican American) citizens, the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has constituted merely a fleeting dream. The history of African Americans in what is now Texas dates back to 1528, when two men, Estevan, a black Moor of Azamor in Morocco, and an unnamed slave of Captain Andrés Dorantes landed. Both men had survived a Spanish expedition to Florida under the leadership of Pánfilo de Narváez. Other blacks explored Texas and settled its territory over the next three hundred years, a period of Spanish and Mexican rule that was generally...

  5. 1 African Americans at the School of Law
    (pp. 14-35)

    When the University of Texas School of Law opened in 1881, there was little need for a discussion about whether African Americans would be allowed to attend the school: southerners’ insistence on strict racial segregation made it a moot point. The University of Texas would remain a school for white Texans and white professors such as W. S. Simkins, who had served as a first sergeant in the Confederate Army and gone on to become a judge, founder of the Peregrinus (the School of Law yearbook), a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and professor of law at the University...

  6. 2 Desegregation of Educational Facilities
    (pp. 36-55)

    In February 1951, Oliver Brown, an employee of the Santa Fe Railroad and an assistant pastor from Topeka, Kansas, filed suit against the Topeka Board of Education on behalf of his nine-year-old daughter, Linda. Brown’s suit focused on the fact that Topeka segregated its schoolchildren on the basis of their race and that African American children, who had to cross railroad tracks and a main industrial street to catch the school bus, faced danger every day. In addition, Brown’s suit focused on “the humiliating fact of segregation.” Although a three-judge federal panel originally rejected Brown’s suit on the basis that...

  7. 3 Desegregation on and off Campus
    (pp. 56-89)

    In the fall of 1963, African American UT student Ed Guinn walked into Raymond’s Drugstore on the Drag to cash a check, a service the store routinely provided to UT students. But when Guinn walked in, the white man at the counter said that the store did not cash checks for Negroes. Guinn replied that the store had cashed checks for white students and thus should do so for him, but the man was adamant. Guinn “wasn’t in the mood to be trifled with,” as he said, and yelled “Bullshit!” at the man. Perhaps, Guinn later realized, the white man...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. 4 Dormitory Integration
    (pp. 90-111)

    On a cold December evening in 1963, twenty-five members of the Campus Interracial Committee staged an “orderly” demonstration in front of Kinsolving Hall, a women’s dormitory that had opened a few years earlier to ease the overcrowding in women’s housing. The new dorm was the pride of the University of Texas, and its most famous resident was President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter, Lynda, although she had moved out of the dorm shortly before the demonstration. According to William Spearman, chair of the committee, the group had nothing against Lynda Johnson, who “was forced to live under a segregated system just like...

  10. 5 Black Integration of the Athletic Program
    (pp. 112-134)

    History was made in the spring of 1962 at the Texas Memorial Stadium. During the annual Texas Relays track meet, spectators could sit wherever they wanted in the stands, without regard to race. In addition, all-black schools were for the first time permitted to compete. Previous university policy set by the Board of Regents had permitted African American athletes to enter only as members of integrated teams or as individual competitors. A crowd of twelve thousand watched Coach Stan Wright’s runners from Texas Southern University win five relay crowns while “smashing exalted records to smithereens, establishing new standards, and striking...

  11. 6 Desegregation from 1964 to the Present
    (pp. 135-149)

    In April 1964, Volma Overton—president of the Austin branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People—held a “speak-in” at an Austin City Council meeting. With the help of Claude Allen, a white English professor at Huston-Tillotson College, the two men staged a filibuster in an attempt to force the City Council to consider a ban against racial discrimination and to form a Human Relations Committee. The speak-in began shortly after 10:00 a.m., when Overton took the floor under the guise of protesting the first item on the council agenda, authorization of a refund contract for...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 150-156)

    On September 29, 1992, two white Texans, CherylJ. Hopwood of Universal City and Stephanie C. Haynes of Austin, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the University of Texas School of Law, charging that they were being denied the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law after the UT Law School rejected their applications while admitting what Hopwood and Haynes argued were less qualified African Americans. Both women claimed that they met the law school’s admission requirements and “would have been admitted to the UT law school this fall were it not for preferential admission policies that give...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 157-188)
  14. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 189-206)
  15. Index
    (pp. 207-213)