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Integrating the 40 Acres

The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas

Dwonna Goldstone

Publication Year: 2006

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.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

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pp. vii-x

In October 1956, a faculty committee chose African American Barbara Smith to play the female lead in a University of Texas production of the opera Dido and Aeneas. Because the committee had chosen two white men to play the male lead, the opera would have an interracial cast. After Texas legislator Jerry Sadler learned of the casting, he demanded Smith's removal ...

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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 ...

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1. African Americans at the School of Law

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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 ...

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2. Desegregation of Educational Facilities

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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 ...

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3. Desegregation on and off Campus

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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 ...

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4. Dormitory Integration

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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 ...

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5. Black Integration of the Athletic Program

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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 ...

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6. Desegregation from 1964 to the Present

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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 ...

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pp. 150-156

On September 29, 1992, two white Texans, Cheryl J. 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 ...


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pp. 157-188

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 189-206


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pp. 207-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780820342030
E-ISBN-10: 0820342033
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820328287
Print-ISBN-10: 0820328286

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2006