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A Catalogue of Events How School Integration Came to Houston From. Our Houston Correspondent HOUSTON There was never any doubt in the minds of reasonable Houstonians whether integration would be a reality in their public schools. They only wonderedsome with contempt, some with anxiety, some with bewildermentwhen it would come and under what circumstances. September 7 was the first day of school, and they had their answer after six years and nearly four months of waiting. Now, two weeks after Tyrone Day became the first Negro child to enter a formerly all white school, 10 Negro first graders are in classes with white pupils in three schools. Dr. John McFarland, superintendent in the Houston Independent School Districtwhich until two weeks ago was known as the “largest segregated school district in the nation”thinks this number will not rise much higher. “We hope all of the children are in school now. But we do accept children all through the term, so we might have a few more before the year is over,” Dr. McFarland said. “A few more Negro children?” a a reporter asked’ Dr. McFarland. “Yes, but not many more, I think,” he replied. And he may be right. A system has been devised to limit the number from rising much higher. In Houstonwhere after three days 171,696 students had been enrolled in more than 180 schools this may seem to be pitifully little progress. But it is progress, and it is occurring peacefully. THE SIGNIFICANT steps began with the original Supreme Court decision of May, 1954. Generally, Houstonians shrugged off the decision like an experienced boxer who takes a solid punch in the first round, then goes on the defensive. Defense of the all-white classes in Houston public schools took several forms. Houston Chronicle editorials at the outset argued that the Supreme Court had taken administration of the schools in the South into their own hands. Chronicle editorial writers said Negroes were happy in their own schools, and that they were provided with equal facilities. The Houston Post remained editorially silent, and concentrated on covering the hard news the story produced. Organizations were formed, committees appointed, and groups assembled to hold the line against integration. Like most Southern communities, the White Citizens Councils were in the forefront of these movements. The organizations did what they could. They held public meetings and brought in speakers to warn of the evils of mingling the races in schools. They wrote, published, and distributed literature for their cause. Most effective was the work these groups did in school board races and city council elections. Men and wornen could run and win on the issue of keeping the public school classes segregated. There hasn’t been a liberal majority since the Supreme Court decision of 1954and it doesn’t look as if one will be elected in the General Election of November 8. But these were battles in a war THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Oct. 7, 1960 that could not be won. Patience is a quality the Negro has in abundance. In Houston he used this quality to great advantage. FIRST WORD that the Negro was ready to assert his rights in Houston public schools cameon December 26, 1956two and one-half years after the Supreme Court ruling. A federal district court suit was filed on behalf of Beneva Williams and Delores Ross, both of whom are now in junior high school. Because o’f the school board regulations, the two are unable to take advantage of the opportunities they have won for others. Federal District Judge Ben C. Connally on January 19, 1957, ruled favorably in the Williams-Ross case and ordered the shcool board to integrate “with all deliberate speed.” The school board, still seeking time, appointed a 17-member bi-racial committee to study the problem and bring in a solution. Meetings were secret, but in three months the cornmittee presented a plan that suggested integration begin in the first grade and proceed a grade a year until all grades are desegregated. \(Joe Kelly Butler, a University of Texas alumnus and president of the Oil Production Maintenance Co., was chairman of this committee. Last week Butler was appointed to fill a vacancy on the school boardthree years after the plan his committee The school board flatly rejected the committee plan and asked Dr. McFarland to submit another. He did, suggesting that the desegregation schedule begin in the 12th grade. MARSHALL Watching Mr. Shivers’ endorsement of Vice-President Nixon on TV the other night evoked the eerie sensation of re-living an experience that has happened before. But there is a slight difference now. Let us turn back for a moment. The late Paul B. Holcomb charted the course of the Democratic Party from 1936 through 1953 in an article published in the Nov. 19, 1953 State Observer. Under the title “How Texas Became a No-Party State,” he described the ebb and flow of the party fortunes through the 1952 Chicago convention. His well-documented record revealed no weakness in the rank and file of the party, but underscored a spirit of retreat and compromise among its leaders that inevitably brought about the 1952 and 1956 debacles in Texas. THE DRIFT to impotency among these leaders had been under-_ way long before ’52, but the surrender of Messrs. Johnson and Rayburn at the Chicago convention that year put the Shivers faction in the driver’s seat, and the toadying of the same pair to the conservatives ever since has kept it there. Let the State Observer describe what happened at Chicago in ’52: “Delegates who attended the convention say that Lyndon Johnson met Allan Shivers when he arrived in Chicago and that they went immediately to Sam Rayburn’s room. A long conference was held and an agreement was reached.” Thereafter the Johnson-Rayburn team saw to it that the heroes of the La Villita convention led by Maury Maverick Sr. were given the bum’s rush, and the Shivers delegation seated. The spectacle of the cold fright that seized all Democratic candidates save John White in the fever of crossfiling on both the Democratic and Republican tickets following the Johnson-Rayburn action was one of the most dismaying in the political history of the state. Congressman Rayburn, let it be said to his credit, .did all he humanly Nothing came of this plan, either. On June 8, 1959, the board called a referendumostensibly to comply with the state legislation requiring an affirmative vote of the district patrons, or else the -withholding of state aid funds. In the case of Houston, this meant loss of $6,500,000. The segregationists carried : the election 3-1. At Judge Connally’s request, board attorneys submitted another plan which was designed to integrate only selected schools in the district. Connally turned this plan down, calling it “a sham and a mockery.” He then ordered the district to begin desegregating the first grade, proceeding a grade a year until integration is complete in all schools in Houston. The day before schools opened, September 6, the school board was dealt a dual blow. First, Attorney General Will Wilson announced his opinion that the district would not lose its state aid if the schools were integratedremov,ing all fear that funds would be insufficient to operate the schools. Second, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed Judge Connally’s desegregation order. But the struggle was not over. THE SCHOOL BOARD had laid down these restrictions : each child entering the first grade must have a physical examination, he must be enrolling in a school closest to his home, and if more than one child in a family was attending the schools in the district on the same level, the could to stem the tide after the ’52 convention, but the party machinery had been surrendered to Gov. Shivers and a young man named Price Daniel. The loyal party workers, recuperating as best they could from the Chicago defeat, lined up behind him, and conducted a somewhat leaderless campaign. Sen. Johnson made a waving train ride through Texas with Adlai Stevenson, and damned him with faint praise in one radio speech in October of ’52. From the party shambles came the Buchanan Darn meeting in May, 1953, when the grassroots Democrats cried out for leadership. Then came the Democratic Advisory Council, which Mr. Rayburn quietly and efficiently throttled before the ’56 convention. In the meantime, a true Democrat, Sen. Ralph Yarborough, rose on the scene. In a bitter fight with Shivers for governor in 1954, this unquestioned Democrat led in the first ‘primary, and with a vigorous assist from, the Johnson-Rayburn axis might well have triumphed in the second. When Yarborough challenged Price Daniel in 1956, once again the vigorous support of the supposed party leaders in Washington could have made the difference, and given the party a Democrat as its titular head in Texas. But that support was not forthcoming. All of this was but a prelude to the gigantic bungling of Rayburn and Johnson in the ’56 and ’60 state conventions. The liberal-loyalist group had been building up solidly since ’52, had pushed forward many who were devoted to the party and its principles, and asked only the loyalty in leadership that it had prof erred in the ranks. The loyalists knew the nature , of the enemy; they realized that none of the Shivers contingency could be trusted with leadership in the party. They flocked behind Sen. Johnson in \\’56 in the faith that he would take charge and supplant the party deviates with loyalists. The Senator made the fatal error of supposing that he could denude Gov. Shivers of his following and use children must attend the same schools. The last regulation was really the major blow. It meant that if a Negro family had children in the first and, say, fourth grade, they were required to go to the same school. The child in the first grade could not enroll in a previously all-white school, and the child in the fourth grade was to continue in the school he had formerly attended. The night before schools opened, the school board met in emergency session. It instructed its superintendent to begin desegregating the first grade, but applied one last regulation. Each Negro child, it ruled, would have to apply to be admitted. Then, if the child had fulfilled each of the requirements, he would be placed in a school. This last decision passed 4 to 1. Mrs. Charles White, only Negro ever to be elected to the board, was the lone dissenter. Dr. W. W. Kemmerer, the other liberal member of the board, was absent. It was freely speculated that he could not bring himself to witness this final indignity.. Integration came to the South’s largest school district, and the schools opened without a violent incident. The largest crowds outside the three schools the Negro children entered were newsmen and policemen. Superintendent McFarland had five special telephone lines installed in his office to alert him if trouble began. The telephones were a useless expense, and perhaps their silence a symbol. it to extinguish the loyalists. Seeing themselves outpointed at the Dallas convention in May, 1956, the Shivers forces quite willingly retained the power offered them by Johnson, and moved in to take charge of the party they had wrecked in 1952. Naturally, this ousted in large measure the amateur liberals and loyalists, and left sweet harmony victorious as Johnson lieutenants gavelled the convention to an end before the will of the majority could prevail. The, thing anyone should have been able to foresee was that the Shivers following did not have the welfare of the party at heart, and would not stay put if the traditional liberalism of the Democrats should be honored. Perhaps Messrs. Rayburn and Johnson thought they could destroy this liberal tradition and remake the national party in the image of the Shivers-Daniel conception of the state party. They tried hard enough in the 1959-60 Congressional session, but suffered abysmal defeat at the Los Angeles convention. NOT TOO LONG BACK, a reporter wrote that Gov. Shivers might be substituted by the Republicans as their Senate opponent against Johnson, and that the Senator had been having earnest telephone conversations with Shivers. The latter, it was reported, had declined to commit himself. In my hometown, the announcement that Shivers would support the Republican ticket was accompanied by a call to rally Nixon supporters, signed by my old friends in the Shivers camp, some of whom were anointed by Johnson in Dallas in ’56. If the senator had any doubt that the hearts of these devotees belong to Daddy, let him count again the people he embraced in the ’56 and ’60 conventions, and look for them among the ranks of the something-or-others for Nixon. They would have ended up there, even had Sen. Johnson been the nom inee for president rather than vice president. The pity of it is that the party must now suffer for the past blunders of its Congressional leaders. FRANKLIN JONES Old Blunders Causing Trouble