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An antibusing rally onJuly 13, 1971, drew at least 1,000 protestors to Dallas's City Hall. Photograph byJack Beers; reprinted with permission ofthe Dallas Morning News. Busing Comes to Dallas Schooh Gerald S. McCorkle* On May 17,1 954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board ofEducation, ruling that the nation's two-race school system violated die equal protection clause ofdie Fourteenth Amendment . This decision, however, rather than leading to rapid desegregation, sparked issues ofenforcement that lasted for the remainder ofthe century and into the next. Federal courts issued their first ruling involving desegregation of the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in September 1955, and numerous court cases followed, culminating in Tasby v. Estes, filed in October 1970.1 Tasbywas an active case for thirty-three years, finally being dismissed in 2003. Perhaps the most significant time in the DISD desegregation effort occurred between 1970 and 1975, when the courts completely redefined desegregation requirements, and the DISD implemented the first plan that required large-scale busing. The DISD lost 40,000 Anglo students (43 percent ofthe totalAnglo student enrollment) during this five-year period.2 White flight from integrated schools was not the sole reason for this loss of Anglo students—the school district was losing 1 to 2 percent of its Anglo students per year to the suburbs prior to desegregation—but a five-fold increase occurred once large-scale busing was ordered.3 White flight in Dallas was typical of urban school districts throughout the South. In Atlanta, which attempted desegregation aggressively from •Gerald McCorkle retired in 1999 after forty-one years as a rocket propulsion engineer. He received an MA in history from die University ofTexas atArlington in 2006. He would like to thank Dr. Robert Fairbanks ofUTA for his critiques and encouragement during die writing ofthe author's master's thesis, from which diis paper was derived. 1 The lawsuit would always be called "Tasby v. _____"; die second name changed as the DISD changed superintendents. 2 Judge Barefoot Sanders used the term "Anglo" to identify non-Hispanic white persons. This paper will follow his usage. 9"TaylorCitesWhiteStudentLossinAdoptingPlan,"Dallas TimesHerald(hereaftercited asDTH), Mar. 11,1976; "White Exodus a Poser," Dallas MorningNews (hereafter cited as DMN), Feb. 27, 1976. Vol. CXI, No. 3 Southwestern Historical Quarterly January, 2008 3o6Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJanuary the late 1950s on, the school district changed from 70 percent white to 70 percent black in the thirteen years from 1958 to 1971. Demographic changes in the Houston ISD closely paralleled those in the DISD, changing from 50 percent Anglo in 1970 to 1 1 percent Anglo in 1995. Throughout the South, according to Davidson Douglas, "The average southern school system under a court-imposed desegregation order lost 38 percent of its white population between 1970 and 1983."4 In Dallas many ofthe wealthy families, who could afford private schools, chose to remain in the city. Most ofthe middle-class families found moving to the suburbs more cost effective. Demographic changes in the city ofDallas , initiated during the 1970s, can be seen today in the small population ofmiddle-class Anglos livingwithin the boundaries ofDallas.5 Thus, events of that half-decade are worth considering in detail. For the first five years following the Brown decision, the DISD responded by doing nothing. Aided by friendly federal districtjudges (Judges William HawleyAtwell and Thomas Whitfield Davidson) , the school board spent its time "studying" desegregation, stating, "Before [the board of education] directs any major change ... its plans shall be worked out to the minutest detail." No actual desegregation occurred during these years.6 In September 1957 Little Rock, Arkansas, attempted to integrate its Central High School. A mob of more than 1 ,000 people surrounded the school to prevent nine black students from entering. As the crisis worsened, President Eisenhower sent 1 ,000 soldiers from the 1 o 1stAirborne Division to maintain order and enforce school integration. Under the army's protection the black students attended Central High thatyear, butLitde Rock closed all four ofits high schools for the following school year. The crisis was a public relations disaster that brought Arkansas's flourishing industrial boom to a stop and served...


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