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Pool Segregation Talked in Austin SAN ANTONIO School desegregation has worked SD far in San Antonio with almost half the schools integrated, and for this Supt. of Schools Thomas Portwood thanks the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, broad latitude given the school administrators by the school board, and the press. “It’s a kind of cosmopolitan atmosphere we have developed here over the years,” he said. “We’re not quite as hidebound as some of the other cities, perhaps.” At Brackenridge High School, for example, conversion to a vocational school was accompanied by considerable integration, 185 Negroes in a student body of 1,200. “We’ve had a real nice atmosphere there,” he said, “Negro boys are on the football teams. I was a little skittish about the situationit looks as though it’s gonna be all right. We just hardly have had any trouble. I thought we would. We’ve been looking for all kinds of things to happen that haven’t happened.” A good many white teachers are now teaching classes half white, half Negro, the superintendent said. “Some of them have told mewell, one said ‘Well, I just didn’t think I could do thisnow I’m into it, these people are very clean and courteous, and I’m enjoying what I do.” Portwood said “only a limited number” of white NEW WAVERLY The trouble about living such a long, long while is that you have lived through so much that most of the current citizens have only ..ead about in history books and biographies \(they call it “resimply cannot resist the temptation to read them. But when I come to the end I have to quote the man who said, “It is better not to know so-much than teachers have requested transfers because of Negroes in their classes. How have the Negroes done academically? “We have found that the Negro children represent a cross-section,” he replied. “Some of them are very remarkable children. One of the English teachers at Brackenridge had eight colored students among her English students, of 130 or 140 of them in all, and five of the Negroes were the best students she had. She was surprisedthose children are very good, indeed. A Negro boy plays football at straight A record.” The point sometimes made that Negroes may retard the academic progress of whites when integrated was discussed. “There is no doubt but what some of those children are under pressures,” Portwood said on the subject. “But I’ve heard of no incidents of jeering themthey go ahead like other students.” By the end of this academic year, he said, the system will have a statistical report prepared on the subject of the academic standards of Negro students. “There have been no cases, much,” he continued, “of Negro children crowding in trying to date. Oh, we’ve had a littlewe talk to the parents, we think a thing like that could blow you up. , to know so much that is not so.” Take the so-called history of the National Democratic Committee. That man has written a whole vivacious, chatty, book. And he left out entirely the Maury Maverick delegation from Texas; the deal with Shivers; and Mister Sam’s treatment of Estes Kefauver and Paul Douglas. Nothing that he has put in the book is as important to Democrats with the 1960 convention looming ahead as an understanding of what happened in 1952. Take Weldon Hart’s biography of Governor Hobby. On page 98 and 99 it says that I declined to chair the convention because I would have had to keynote the convention! Now I ask you, does anybody that ever knew me believe that was the reason I turned down that honor? That ‘why’ has been a secret all these long years …it was like this: the night before the con Portwood observed that Negroes are only 7.5 percent of the total student population in the San Antonio schools. “If you had 28 to 30 percent, like in Dallas or Houston, it might be a different problem, I don’t know,” he said. “I usually say about it, `Everything’s going fine todayJ don’t know about tomorrow.’ “Oh, it’s a problem!” he said, with a head-shaking sigh. “We’ve had very good luck with it. The school boardit’s been a wonderful latitude. The press here have been basically in favor of it, and they haven’t picked up things and hounded around about itthat’s been a great help.” Negroes enrolled in. the formerly all-white schools are increasing in number 200 or 300 a year, he said; this year the total will be close to 1,500 Negroes in 40 or 45 formerly all-white schools of about 100 schools in the system. Schools still all-white or allNegro are accounted for, he said, by such considerations as no Negroes in the district, Negroes going to the Negro school in a district \(particularly where the white school is “entirely Latinwhite school. Are any Negro teachers teaching the integrated classes? “We haven’t crossed that bridge yet,” Portwood told the Observer. Registration for the 1959-’60 school year proceeded without to-do in San Antonio this week. vention a woman I knew and trusted came to me with a message from a very old lady warning me about why the honor was being tendered me. She had been lying on her bed with no light in the room and she heard her son on the porch planning with another man to get me in the chair and rush through a complete organization of the meeting assuming that I would be helpless. My one objective in that convention was a suffrage plank. So I went to General Crane. He organized the meeting. I got my suffrage plank. Peaceain’t it wonderful? M.F.C. FORT PARKER STATE PARK This 1,491-acre park is the closest thing to a recreation-dispensing automat I have yet seen in the state. They don’t have a turnstile at the entrance, but once you reach the central area the principal decoration seems to be price tags. Although the lake here , spreads easily over 750 acres, the park management prohibits swimming anywhere except for 25 cents a head within an area marked out by barrels, an extraordinary limitation, on the way the people use their own lake. You can’t even swim off the boats you rent: penalty, forfeiture of boating rights. \(Though the water is a little milky, and the bottom mushy in the specified pool, the ing is permitted where they can collect the toll. You can fish all challenged. This summer, however, a group of five whites and two Negroes went swimming at Barton Springs, and the city subsequently adopted a policy evidently designed to prevent a recurrence of this. One of the whites and the Negroes were refused tickets by clerk Douglas Hooper, who said to them, “This is a segregated pool.” Thereupon two of the other whites bought the tickets for the group. At the pool’s edge Hooper sought to dissuade the group from entering the water. They swam about an hour. Though Hooper consulted his superiors, no action was taken. A policy was thereupon adopted by the city that the ticket sellers at Barton’s insist on physically seeing the people for whom tickets were being bought and not sell tickets to Negroes. CITY MANAGER W. T. Williams concurred with Sheffield that the segregation of public swimming pools is illegal and that it continues in Austin simply because of the custom. “That’s about the way it seems to be,” Williams said. “I don’t know that we have any fixed policy.” At Barton’s, he said, “we tell the colored people they are not wanted to pay, but if they want to go swimming, they just go in free.” This latter had not yet happened, he said; “they’ve observed it pretty well” by not going in. On the future, Williams said, “It’ll all work out.” Sheffield said the city parks and recreation board recommended against the city council’s new 50cent park fee at city park. ‘But out after almost anything” for revenue, he said. Because the road enters the park at only one point, “it is very easy to stop and control the cars coming in.” Sheffield added, “I have been thinking that we need to have more control at the parks … We probably should go so far as to right: for either 25 or 50 cents, depending on how long you stay. The boathouse offers for sale almost anything needed for boating and fishing. For all th the park is lovely elsewhere and has other attributes. There is a “group camp,” eight buildings which can accomodate groups of 100, provided they don’t mind being too far from the lake and won’t take offense when they’re told about the “silver service for 108.” Campers are directed toward two specified areas each side of the bathhouse, a cafe, and the boathouse, one side for people with tents, the other for the untented, but they are pleasant areas, beside the lake, with good stone and wooden benches, open fireplaces, fine stands of trees, and night lights until ten o’clock bright enough register the cars.” Why? “They’ve had some pretty wild parties out there … a lot of drinking parties of young people. It might make it araise the level of it a little bit,” and especially, he argued, make overnight campers feel “more secure.” He said the new fee will not be used to exclude Negroes from city park. “We never have,” he said. “To my knowledge we have never had any incidentsit’s never been a particular problem. We took care of one large group of. Negroes out there two or three weeks ago.” But, Sheffield said, “in certain types of recreation we still like to play with who we want to play with.” In the softball league, for instance, “they want to play with who they want to play with.” The last three or four years, “some teams here have had some Negroes on their teams,” and the city has not objected, he said. “WE STILL ARE NOT swimming together,” Sheffield said, “That is a habit or a custom we have here locally.” Did he think segregation of the public pools would hold up legally? “No, I don’tnot a bit,” he replied. His department was maintaining a system he thought illegal on behalf of local custom? “1 know it’s the local custom,” he said; “that’s right.” He pointed out that he and his department had worked out integration at the city golf course two or three years before the Negroes asked to play there. There has been no trouble at all, with Negroes playing golf there freely, he said, except once when a white man joined a Negro group of four players, violating a course rule against more than four players in one group. He was asked by an attendant to withdraw from the group and became angry, thinking the request was directed against interracial golfing. “The only time we had trouble was when a white man caused it . we were treating him just like we would anybody under the circumstances,” Sheffield said. to read by if you sit near them. The cafe sells sodas and bread, and there is dancing there until park road follows the lake a way, but access_ to the bank is poor; one must wonder why they bunch the campers in the concessions area and leave the miles of bank practically inaccessible, unless Texas CampgroundsIll they have the dollar mightily in mind. The park is seven miles south of Mexia, and Mexia is glad. At the cafe they’ll give you pamphlets on both the park and Mexia. The one on the park announces that “Mexia has facilities to meet every needWhile enjoying yourself at Fort Parker State Park, be sure to stop and shop in Mexia.” On the front of the one about Mexia we learn, “2,000,000 Texans Live Within 100 Miles of Mexia.” For the fastidious it says on the back in smaller type that the estimated population of the town in 1956 was 7,350. There is, as the name suggests, a, fort at Fort Parker, but I did not find it. R.D. THE TEXAS .OBSERVER Page 6 September 4, 1959 History, an Honor, and Substance A Recreation-Dispensing Automat